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Ringera retains Kenya anti graft job

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday reappointed Justice (rtd) Aaron Ringera as the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC).

In a gazette notice President Kibaki said Justice Ringera would serve for five years with effect from September 8.

Also reappointed in the gazette notice are Assistant Directors Fatuma Sichale and Smokin Wanjala.

“Mrs Sichale will continue serving as the Assistant Director for Legal Services while Mr Wanjala remains the Assistant Director, Preventive Services,” said a statement from the Presidential Press Service.

“Both appointments will be for a period of four years and take effect from September 8.”

Two months ago Justice Ringera’s supervisor – Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board – indicated it would seek to cut the salary of the Director by at least Sh500, 000 and capped it at not more than Sh2 million per month.

The Board which is headed by Law Society of Kenya Chairman Okongo Omogeni said the Sh2.5 million pay cheque which Justice Ringera currently enjoys was unacceptable.

“We would like to remunerate our officers competitively but we also have to be conscious that we offer salaries that are sustainable by the Kenyan economy,” Mr Omogeni had told Capital News in an interview on June 25.

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The salaries of Justice Ringera’s four assistants were also to be slashed by the same margin putting them at Sh1.1 million down from Sh1.7 million if Mr Omogeni’s proposals sailed through.

The Directors’ perks have attracted public outcry with many calling for their reduction. The Commission has come under heavy criticism for failing to convincingly reduce graft in its five years’ operation

Mr Ringera’s re-appointment is likely to cause ripples in the political and social circles since he has been accused of laxity in fighting big fishes who are accused of mega grafts among them the multi billion shillings Anglo-Leasing scandal and the long standing Goldenberg.

Mr Ringera has previously defended his office and blamed the office of the Attorney General and the High Court for allegedly frustrating the efforts to conclusively deal with graft.

Last year the High Court ruled that security contracts approved by Attorney General Amos Wako could not be probed by the anti graft body as both KACC and the AG’s office were members of the Executive.

The court also ruled that KACC had no powers to seek or receive Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from other countries.

MLA is the formal way in which countries request and provide assistance in obtaining evidence located in another country. Immediately after the court’s ruling Britain’s serious Fraud Office announced that it has discontinued any assistance to Kenyan government in relation to the investigations into the Sh56 billion Anglo Leasing fraud case.

Mr Ringera and the Office of the Attorney General have been at loggerheads for along time with Ringera accusing the AG of frustrating efforts by the KACC to prosecute ‘big fishes’. Following the alleged frustrations, Mr Ringera has been on an upbeat campaign seeking to be given prosecutorial powers and entrenchment of his office in the Constitution. The later position is now being supported by the Advisory Board trough its chair Mr Omogeni.

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