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KACC: Smokin Wanjala quits

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 18- Smokin Wanjala has resigned from the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) following nearly three weeks of controversy surrounding his irregular reappointment alongside his boss Aaron Ringera and fellow assistant Fatuma Sichale.

Dr Wanjala told reporters on Friday that he decided to quit as the KACC Assistant Director – Preventive Services due to heated public debate following the irregular appointment.

“If ceasing to be an Assistant Director of the KACC can help refocus our attention and energies on other pressing matters in this country, if it can help save an institution that I have worked so hard to build, then it is not a price at all to pay,” he said.

He was reappointed by gazette notice on August 31 alongside Fatuma Sichale to deputise Mr Ringera. The two assistants were granted a four-year extension each.

Parliament on Wednesday revoked the reappointment of the three saying the President overstepped the House and the KACC Advisory Board.

“What is important to note and appreciate is that Parliament has spoken,” the exiting director said. “As one of the three pillars of government, when Parliament speaks the citizen is advised not to ignore that voice especially when such a citizen happens to be in my position.”

He however continues to hold to the view that the President did not break any law in reappointing him and his two colleagues.
“At this stage it really does not matter whether by passing this Motion, Parliament either overreached itself or acted under a misapprehension of the law”.

Dr Wanjala at the same time insisted that the KACC had made good progress in fighting graft but was let down by weak legislation.

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“We’ve been accused of not taking the ‘big fish’ to court while we all know no one has defined what big fish is; we are all aware that Permanent Secretaries, heads of Parastatals, Directors among others have been subject of investigation by the commission so I can hardly understand the basis of the criticism given the limitations I have stated,” he said.

Dr Wanjala is now urging Parliament to heed to the anti-graft body’s call for prosecutorial powers in addition to enacting related legislation such as the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill so as to create an environment that is friendly to the fight against graft.

He said: “it is a fact that the institutions engaged in the fight against corruption are neither seamless nor coordinated by law and I urge Parliament to give the KACC powers to prosecute and anchor the commission in the new constitution.”


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