Transition of anti-graft agency cause for worry – TI

August 26, 2011 1:37 pm
TI Kenya boss Samuel Kimeu

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Anti-graft watchdog Transparency International (TI) has underscored the need for a proper transitional mechanism to be established when the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) is replaced by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission whose Bill was passed by Parliament on Thursday.

TI Executive Director Samuel Kimeu said on Friday that the changer-over should not interfere with ongoing investigations and cases.

Among other highlights of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Bill is that the KACC staff who were hired on contract basis will serve in the new body until the expiry of their terms, after which they will re-apply for their posts and be vetted.

“There are three things that Parliament should focus on; key being the transitioning from the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act into the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act,” Mr Kimeu stated.

“This means a proper transition of the cases, a proper transition of the investigations, and a proper transition of the staff who are handling those cases,” he said.

The TI boss further pointed out that the positions of the Director and Deputy Directors of the new commission should filled on an interim basis to guarantee continuity.

“My view is that they (directors) should have been let to serve until a substantive secretary and assistants are appointed,” he stated. “When the commission is established, it should be the one vetting officers and determining whether they fit the bill or not.”

The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) will stand disbanded once the President assents to and gazettes the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Bill 2011.

And as the Bill came up for debate in Parliament on Thursday evening, it was decided that KACC Director Prof PLO Lumumba as well as his two Assistant Directors – Pravin Bowry, legal services and asset recovery and Prof Jane Onsongo, Preventive Services) will not be part of the new commission.

As for the KACC’s advisory body, Parliament ruled that they will serve for a transitional period of 90 days from the enactment of the new commission, after which the commission will decide on whether to retain them or not.

The new look Ethics Commission will only boast of a chair and three members with MPs expressing the need for a lean commission which does not overburden the taxpayer and also eliminates lethargy.

Parliament also denied the new commission powers to prosecute, a proposal that had been fronted by the KACC and other stakeholders.

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