NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The Vice Chairperson of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and fellow Commissioners on Thursday asked EACC Chairman Philip Kinisu to voluntarily step aside to allow a probe into corruption allegations against a company associated with him.
A statement signed by Vice Chairperson Sophia Lepuchirit, Commissioners Dr Dabar Abdi Maalim, Paul Mwaniki Gachoka, Rose Mghoi Macharia and Secretary Halakhe Waqo said it had been established that Kinisu was an associate of Esaki Limited, a company that was found to have conducted business with the National Youth Service (NYS) which is under investigation.
“This voluntary action will pave way for independent investigations into the matter and also set the standard as the chair of EACC,” the joint statement indicated.
Esaki Limited is alleged to have colluded with National Youth Service officers and banks to defraud NYS by supplying overpriced goods or failing to supply them.
According to the EACC Commissioners, Kinisu’s association with the company is in conflict with the public interest with him being a subject of an active investigation.
Furthermore, the EACC explained that his association with the company in question contradicts Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity and the EACC Code of Conduct.
“By virtue of his office and his relationship with Esaki Limited, the chairperson’s personal interests are in apparent conflict with those of the public in respect of the subject investigations,” the EACC Commissioners and Secretary explained.
“Holders of public office are required to observe high ethical standards and therefore the view of the commissioners is that the continued occupation of the office of the chairperson of the commission is in apparent or potential conflict with public interest whether real or perceived.”
The commission said it has asked Attorney General Githu for a legal opinion “particularly considering that the view of the commissioners is that the chairperson should take personal responsibility without the necessity of a suspension being invoked under section 42 (7) of the Leadership and Integrity Act as read with Regulation 25 of the said Act.”
In recognition that the chairperson plays a critical role in handing over files after completion of investigations to the Director of Public Prosecutions and that NYS was a subject of investigation, the commission deemed it important for Kinisu to opt out to allow it to impartially investigate his involvement with Esaki Limited and the alleged fraud involving NYS.