NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – The Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to quickly constitute the panel that will vet Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Commissioners following the resignations of the previous three commissioners.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and his counterpart, Nandi’s Stephen Sang, say the process of reconstituting the corruption watchdog needs to be hastened to ensure the fight against corruption is sustained.
“I am requesting the President to constitute the panel that will vet the EACC as a matter of urgency,” said Kilonzo.
He stated that the law required that following the resignation of EACC Commissioners, the President should within 14 days form a panel to begin ‘shopping’ for new commissioners.
However, it has been over one months since two of the remaining commissioners, Chairman Mumo Matemu and Vice Chairperson Irene Keino stepped aside.
“The backdrop of not naming this selection panel is creating a gap in the fight against corruption which is then causing members of the National Assembly are now speculating over the names of those who have been cleared and those whose cases have been recommended for prosecution, ” said Kilonzo.
President Uhuru Kenyatta through his Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua had last week called on institutions required under law to comprise the selection panel to forward names of their nominees to the President in a deadline that expired four days ago.
The Senators also raised concerns over the constitution of the commission, warning that the delay in composing the panel was putting the current investigations being carried out by the commission in jeopardy as it would be subject to contention in court.
“If they decide to go by the AGs advisory, the matter will be determined in court,” said Sang’.
“The fight against corruption looks like it is going to a dead end because those persons being taken to court will have an opportunity to challenge the decision as the law states that files should be forwarded by the commissioners and not the CEO as we have seen. The CEO does not have the mandate to run the commission,” said Kilonzo.
He said it would be a tragedy if the cases were challenged and won and would dent the image of not only the investigating and prosecuting organs but also that of the Executive.
The Senators also noted with concern statements by certain members of the National Assembly threatening to remove the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, from office for recommending the clearance and prosecution certain cabinet secretaries implicated in corruption scams saying this was a dangerous precedence being set by the legislators.
They accused unnamed Members of the National Assembly for playing dirty politics and dragging the name of the DPP in their political wars urging them to reveal the names of those they think should be prosecuted instead of making baseless statements.