President Kenyatta nominates four commissioners to anti-graft agency

By: JOHN NJAGI

A former head of consultancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Philip K. B. Kinisu has been nominated chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

President Kenyatta has forwarded Mr Kinisu’s name to the National Assembly for vetting.

The former PwC board chairman, who is expected to replace Mr Mumo Matemu, is among five people nominated to fill positions of commissioners at the agency.

Mr Matemu left office under a cloud of corruption allegations some touching on the ownership of Integrity Centre, where the agency sat.

Mr Kinisu is expected to bring in the discipline of the private sector into the muddled war against corruption.

However, it remains to be seen if he will be able to cut through the maze.

Former chairmen have always fallen short even after making lofty speeches and swearing to slay the dragon.

And Kenyans await the day a high profile individual will be thrown behind bars over corruption.

In line with a new EACC Bill the National Assembly has passed, President Kenyatta named four other commissioners who are expected to work on part-time basis a move that is expected to lessen conflicts that have been witnessed between the commission and the secretariat.

The four commissioners are Mr Dabar Abdi Maalim, Mr Paul Mwaniki Gachoka, Ms Sophia Lepuchirit and Ms Rose Mghoi Mtambo Macharia.

CRIPPLING GRAFT AGENCIES

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to forward the names to the Administration and National Security Committee for vetting before giving a report to the House, either rejecting or endorsing them.

EACC has been without commissioners since May when Mr Matemu and his team resigned, weeks after the President Kenyatta had suspended them on recommendations of the National Assembly.

Mr Matemu and former vice chairperson Irene Keino, chose to resign rather than face a tribunal that was to investigate their alleged misconduct.

Another commissioner, Prof Jane Onsongo had resigned earlier in April, and left the country, citing frustrations.

She said infighting within the commission had also complicated the war against corruption.

The continued existence of the EACC without a fully constituted commission has been a centre of focus.

There have been questions as to whether the secretariat, head by chief executive officer Halakhe Waqo, is in breach of the Constitution by investigating suspects and recommending their prosecution in the absence of commissioners.

On Sunday, Cord leader Raila Odinga accused President Kenyatta of crippling agencies mandated to fight corruption to shield certain individuals from prosecution.

LIST OF SHAME

Some of the suspended Cabinet secretaries charged with corruption have used the absence of a fully constituted commission investigating their cases in their defences in court.

The ministers want charges against them dismissed as they were not investigated by a properly constituted commission.

The Waqo-led team, which survived an onslaught by MPs who wanted to send them home, appear to have kept the war against graft going by presenting a list of 175 individuals implicated in the vice to the President who forwarded it Parliament.

The so-called list of shame led to the suspension of five Cabinet secretaries.

Most of them have been cleared of alleged offences but are yet to resume office.

President Kenyatta rejected the EACC amendment Bill to send home Mr Waqo and his deputy Michael Mubea in August and instead proposed that they face fresh vetting within one year.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION