NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday constituted a nine-member panel to commence the replacement of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Commissioners who stepped down from office.
The panel is chaired by Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala and includes the National Gender and Equality Commission Chairperson Winfred Lichuma, Kagwiria Mbogori from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Titus Ndambuki from the Public Service Commission.
Others are Aden Wachu from the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Gladys Kianji representing professionals, Kennedy Kihara from the Office of the President, Maryanne Kimani-Njau from the Attorney General’s office and finally Peter Koli from the Media Council of Kenya.
The law requires that all nine bodies including the Judicial Service Commission, of which Wanjala is a member, be represented on the panel.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act requires the panel to within seven days of convening, advertise for the vacant positions, conduct interviews in public and forward three names to the President for the position of Chairman and four for the two membership positions.
Fourteen days of receiving a list of those successful, the President will forward three of the names to the National Assembly for vetting.
Those interested in serving as Chairman of the Commission are required by the EACC Act to have at least 15 years work experience, not to hold a political party post, not be bankrupt or a convict.
Those who want to serve as members require 10 years minimum work experience and should meet the integrity requirements set out in Chapter six of the Constitution.
The Senate Committee on Legal Affairs had on Wednesday called for the speedy constitution of the recruitment panel saying the EACC was too vital an institution to be left without commissioners for an extended period of time.
Mumo Matemu and Irene Keino resigned as chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Commission in April and May after the President constituted a tribunal to investigate accusations of incompetence levelled against them.
Jane Onsongo, a member, was the first to resign in March as President Kenyatta gave the commission 60 days to conclude investigations into public officials suspected of graft.
The commission, which the EACC Act states should be composed of three commissioners, is currently the subject of a court petition challenging its ability to carry out its functions with all three of its commissioners having resigned.
Suspended Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Engineer Michael Kamau, the petitioner, argues that without Commissioners, the EACC is non-existent and therefore its recommendation to the Director of Public Prosecutions that he be charged with defrauding the Government of Kenya of Sh33 million in the unprocedural redesign of the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia road in 2008, is null and void.
A position the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution shares but that the DPP, Attorney General and the EACC Secretariat have countered arguing that the latter is fully capable of executing investigations with or without commissioners.