NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – The National Civil Society Congress has urged president Uhuru Kenyatta to reject amendments to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, saying that they will weaken the fight against corruption.
Congress President Morris Odhiambo says some clauses contained in the EACC Amendment Bill 2015 are against the Constitution.
Odhiambo says the impact of some of the proposals on the management of human resource and public affairs generally would be far reaching and negative.
He argues that the amendments would only serve to weaken the anti-graft body.
“One of the amendments makes the EACC subservient to the Public Service Commission (PSC) in as far as recruitment of commissioners is concerned. This will undermine the independence of the commission,” he added.
He says the National Assembly is creating a wrong precedent of firing people through legal amendments.
“The National Assembly does not have the mandate of firing people. If this extra judicial lynching is left to continue, it will lead to other illegal acts by the National Assembly,” he said.
Odhiambo says amendments to the EACC Act should have been bolstered by changes aimed at strengthening the wealth declaration regime under the Public Officers Ethics Act, making sure public access to wealth declaration forms and other relevant information is anchored in law, and introducing lifestyle audits to augment the wealth declaration regime and enhance the detection of illegally acquired wealth.
The National Assembly passed amendments to the EACC Act providing for the vacation from office by the EACC Secretary, Deputy and recruitment of EACC Commissioners to be directly conducted by the Public Service Commission among other proposals.
EACC Chief Executive Halakhe Waqo and his deputy Michael Mubea could be sent home if President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the EACC (Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed by the National Assembly into law.
MPs voted 70-39 in support of the amendment proposed by Kiminini Member of Parliament Chris Wamalwa which sought to have the offices of Secretary and Deputy Secretary become vacant upon enactment of the Bill.
Wamalwa however says that both Waqo and Mubea will not be required to leave office immediately but will continue serving in acting capacity pending the appointment of substantive office holders.