Lobby group threatens to sue over Bill disbanding EACC officials

By: SAMUEL KARANJA

A section of the civil society has threatened to go to court should President Uhuru Kenyatta go ahead and sign a Bill proposing amendments to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission Act.

The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) slammed the move by MPs to amend the Act, saying such a move would water down efforts to fight graft.

Last month, legislators overwhelmingly supported the Bill sponsored by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, which will, among other things, have the EACC secretariat led by Mr Halakhe Waqo sent home.

The activists asked President Kenyatta to reject the amendments, warning that some of the changes made were a violation of the constitution.

According to the NCSC President Mr Maurice Odhiambo, the MPs supported the changes because a number of them were under investigations by the EACC on graft allegations.

“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,” said Mr Odhiambo during a press conference in Nairobi on Sunday.

“We will not hesitate to go to court should the amendments be accepted by the President and (the Bill) signed,” he added.

The activists argued that it was wrong for Parliament to make changes to the EACC Act, which would see the current commissioners sent home.

The commissioners are currently handling high-profile corruption cases.

WAQO’S FATE

The fate of Mr Waqo and his deputy Michael Mubea now lies with the President, who may sign or reject the Bill.

“The National Assembly does not have the mandate of firing people. If this extrajudicial lynching by the assembly is left to continue, it will lead to other illegal acts by the National Assembly,” added Mr Odhiambo.

He said instead of making such changes, MPs should ensure public access to wealth declaration forms was anchored in law.

They should also introduce lifestyle audits to augment the wealth declaration regime, he added.

KENYA AIRWAYS PROBE

The activist also called for thorough investigations into what led the national carrier Kenya Airways to make the Sh25 billion loss.

He claimed the loss could have been as a result of corruption.

“We need to be told what happened before the government makes any plans to bail out Kenya Airways. We also need to know what other shareholders are doing in the bailout plans,” he added.

“Investigations should be carried out and both current and past managers questioned, and should anyone be found guilty of any wrongdoing, they should be taken to court and forced to refund the money,” added Mr Odhiambo.