Is Kenya’s graft war on pause?

October 13, 2011 3:04 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has raised concern with the operational vacuum left at the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) following the departure from office by former Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) Directors.

Prof Muigai who was speaking after meeting the EACC Advisory Board on Thursday noted that there was urgent need to streamline the laws and tie any loose ends so as to facilitate the smooth implementation of the Constitution.

He argued that open consultations between various players involved in the implementation process would help ensure a smooth transition.

“We are anxious to manage this transition with the minimum of friction and the maximum of efficiency. We may not be having the most elegantly drafted Constitution but inter-team consultations will be healthier for the implementation process,” he said.

This comes at a time when the EACC faces an operational crisis after the KACC Executive Director Patrick Lumumba, Deputy Director Jane Onsongo, together with Directors Pravin Bowry and John Mutonyi resigned from the commission.

The EACC cannot access any funds from the government as it requires a CEO’s authorisation.

The Advisory board, led by Chairman Okong’o Omogeni, also expressed fears of hiccups and eventual crunch if the process of nominating a new Secretary is not concluded soon.

“Further, since it is the Secretary of EACC who can order investigation into any issue, the remaining structure of this commission is near powerless as any moves towards investigations could easily be contestable in Court by any person,” he added.

Omogeni, who was accompanied by John Wanyela, Grace Injene, Naomi Wagereka, Francis Wangara, Jazne Muthaura, Olga Sewe and Nicolas Simani, argued that the reference to the CEO of EACC, in the new Act as ‘Director’ rather than ‘Secretary’ raised the risk of duplication of roles.

“An indication of duplicity is the requirement that EACC file its quarterly reports both to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General,” cited Omogeni.

Muigai admitted that some of the effecting Articles in the EACC needed to be analysed so as to eliminate any such anomalies. He told the Advisory Board to submit a formal communication of the anomalies so that a possible clean-up could be considered through a Miscellaneous Amendment Bill.

The officials also noted that there was an on-going Court case, even as the appointment of the new EACC commissioners continued pending. The case was filed by Ledama ole Kina, against the departure of the previous KACC officials.

The Advisory Board further requested that the composition of the EACC Commissioners be raised to nine, with six part-time Commissioners and three full-time.

Omogeni said that the current provision for three Commissioners, including Chair, would hamper administrative duties.

“The two members could connive and have their way, however unsavory,” he argued.

The AG also emphasised that jobs generated by the implementation of the new Constitution, especially in various commissions, should be awarded fairly.

‘’As Kenyans, we at times demand standards that we ourselves don’t have. This may not be proper unless the job templates are designed for foreigners’’.


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