NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – Questions are now being raised over the legality of renewal of contracts for staff at the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission.
Sixty three officials, including the top cadre at the anti corruption agency have all received their new contract letters, sources have told Capital FM News.
“People have been receiving their contracts since Monday,” one official said.
The staff were given one-year contracts to continue work until proper vetting is carried out by yet to be appointed commissioners.
Queries are however being raised how the staff were hired by the Public Service Commission yet they had not re-applied for the jobs and vetted as required by the Constitution.
“Hiring the officials without following proper procedures is in itself illegal. It constitutes a serious violation of the new Constitution and is likely to be challenged in court,” one official at the Justice Ministry who requested not to be named said.
The Permanent Secretary at the Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Gichira Kibara was not immediately available to comment on this new development.
He did not answer our calls or reply text message with queries.
The contracts were renewed as the Law Society of Kenya wrote to the Acting Secretary at the EACC, Jane Muthaura, stating that the staff whose contracts had expired were in office illegally.
In a letter dated May 9, the LSK citing the EACC Act 2011 said all contracts for the 63 officers had expired and proper procedure must be followed in replacing them.
“Upon coming into effect of the said Act on 5th September 2011, the Director and Assistant Directors of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission did comply with Section 34 (1) thereof by leaving office,” the LSK said.
Likewise, the LSK said, the Advisory Board of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission vacated office on December 5, 2011 after the stipulated 90 days envisaged under section 37 of the Act.
“Under Section 34 (1), (2), and (3), upon expiry of the said staff contracts, such persons can only continue as employees of the commission upon application and upon being vetted by the commission,” the LSK said in the letter signed by its chairman Eric Mutua.
The commissioners that are supposed to vet the new staff of the EACC have yet to be appointed but their names were due to be tabled afresh in Parliament on Thursday.
“Since there is no commission in place, no such application and vetting may have taken place,” Mutua said. “We however, understand that the 63 staff have continued working despite the unequivocal and clear provisions of the law.”
The LSK has raised queries over the new contracts awarded to the staff at the EACC, saying it is against Chapter Six of the new constitution.
“If you allowed the said situation to prevail, you will have breached Chapter Six of the Constitution, the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and the Public Officers Ethics Act,” he said adding “This state of affairs, if so, is regrettable and unfortunate in view of the fact that you are meant to enforce the very chapter six of the constitution.”
The LSK is now demanding to know the status of the 63 officers hired illegally.
The LSK letter is copied to the Attorney General, Secretary Commission on Administration of Justice and the Chairman of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.