NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for taking a bold step towards fighting grand corruption.
LSK President Eric Mutua stated that the war on graft must shift into top gear and requires unity to win.
In his State of the Nation Address Thursday, President Kenyatta directed that 175 public officials leave office for investigations into corruption claims against them.
“We commend President Kenyatta for taking the bold step and public officials adversely mentioned should immediately step aside pending investigations,” he said.
The public officials include Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, Principal Secretaries and parastatal chiefs among others.
While referring to the recent controversial payment of Sh1.4 billion to two shadowy firms linked to the Anglo Leasing type contracts Mutua expressed the organisation’s concern that the government paid out the monies.
He recalled how LSK demanded that the AG show cause why the professional body should not issue him with a certificate of dishonour and strike him off the Roll of Senior Counsel.
“LSK remains concerned that the government paid out the Sh1.4 billion after the Office of the Attorney General acted unconstitutionally, illegally and unprofessionally. The AG appeared to have withdrawn instructions in December 2013 from foreign advocates before his office took over the conduct of the case on 20th December 2013,” he said.
Five Cabinet Secretaries and six Principal Secretaries are among public officers that President Kenyatta directed to step aside to allow for investigations into corruption allegations levelled against them.
The Cabinet Secretaries, according to sources include Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, her Agriculture counterpart Felix Koskei and Transport CS Engineer Michael Kamau.
Reports also indicate Davies Chirchir and Kazungu Kambi may be on the list.
The list is to be formally submitted to Senate and National Assembly on Tuesday and National Assembly Speaker Muturi said they agonized over the matter during a two hour meeting held with leaders from both Houses after the joint sitting.
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said they would not act unprocedurally despite the mounting public interest after the president made the announcement during a joint Sitting of Parliament.
Other high ranking members of the Executive called upon to step aside include Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia and Defence Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo.
Deputy President William Ruto’s Chief of Staff Marianne Kitany, who was adversely mentioned in the infamous ‘Hustler’s’ Jet probe, is also among them.
Twelve Governors are included in the list President Kenyatta presented to Parliament on Thursday as those under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.