C J invites new EACC to vet Supreme Court Judges

Chief Justice (CJ), Willy Mutunga has invited the newly constituted Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to conduct lifestyle audit of the Supreme Court judges starting with him.

Speaking on Monday during the swearing-in of the newly appointed EACC commissioners, Mutunga assured them that he will co-operate and comply with their requirements during the auditing process.

“I hope that you will draw the framework for this exercise and once you are ready, I will be handing over to you my Wealth Declaration Forms, and any other documentation you may need for this exercise,” said Mutunga.

The new EACC commissioners are Philip Kinisu (Chairman), Rose Mghoi Macharia, Sophia Lepuchirit, Paul Mwaniki Gachoka and Dr. Dabar Abdi Maalim.

The CJ said he expects the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which he chairs, will subject those who will be applying to succeed him to lifestyle audits to ascertain their sources of income and spending habits.

Mutunga has offered to retire in June, this year, one year earlier than the expiry of his term to create ample time for his successor to settle down in readiness of presidential petition, if any, in the August 2017 general election.

The CJ is also the President of the Supreme Court, the highest court charged with hearing and determining presidential election petitions. Mutunga challenged the new commissioners to use powers bestowed on them to root out corruption.

“You must banish the notion that Kenya is an incurable petri-dish of corruption, and reclaim the public’s faith in the independence, effectiveness and fairness in public institutions”, said Mutunga.

He advised the new commissioners to stand by the dictates of the law and desist from being swayed by political pressure.

“Be ready for political pressure, unfair smear campaigns, public insults, threats to your life, ethnic baits but you must meet these with unbowed personal principle, commitment to objective truth, and faithfulness to the Constitution,” said Mutunga.

On piling anti-corruption cases, the Chief Justice, said the the Judiciary is committed to fast track them and hold back-to -back hearings.

He called for support from litigants and assured that judicial determinations will be based on the quality of investigation and prosecution as supported by the law and evidence.

Mutunga said to fast track the hearing and determination of the cases, the judiciary has increased the number of magistrates in the anti-corruption court in Nairobi from three to 13 and created an Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court.

He said in the next few days, he will be announcing the presiding judge of the Division.

The EACC has been operating without commissioners since May last year when the then Chair, Mumo Matemo and his team resigned.

Kinisu who previously headed Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) called on Kenyans to support the Commission in the fight against corruption.

“We know that the challenges ahead of us are many as our predecessors have fallen off the Integrity band wagon and the expectations are quite high. It is a great honour to serve our country and we are going to change how corruption was dealt with in the past and ensure Kenya becomes a corruption-free nation,” said Kinisu.

By Diana Kimathi

Source: Kenya News Agency