EACC moves to rid counties of runaway graft

Friday, August 28th, 2020 00:00 | By
EACC Chief Executive Twalib Mbarak at a press briefing.
EACC Chief Executive Twalib Mbarak at a press briefing. PHOTO/Print

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has reiterated that some governors are on its radar over corruption related offences and risk being arrested in the coming days.

EACC Chief Executive, Twalib Mbarak yesterday said the commission intends to bring sanity to counties and will bring to book all governors implicated in graft.

“The  commission is investigating several governors and more might be arrested soon.

We want to bring sanity in counties so that this culture of governors operating with impunity will be history,” Mbarak said, in a virtual presentation to commemorate 10 years since the promulgation of the Constitution.

During the event, a cross section of leaders decried the absence of adequate framework to provide mechanism for barring or sanctioning persons found contravening Chapter Six of the Constitution.

Integrity vetting

Other than Mbarak, EACC chairperson Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati and renowned lawyer PLO Lumumba, called for urgent need to put in place a comprehensive vetting mechanism for elected leaders and persons appointed to public offices.

“I assure Kenyans that EACC remains steadfast and committed to the implementation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution.

We will remain fair, firm and independent in execution of the responsibility that you have bestowed upon us,” assured Mbarak.

In the last five years, Mbarak said the commission has undertaken integrity vetting of over 30,000 persons seeking appointment in public office.

“The greatest challenge is that you may have a general picture that someone is not suitable to hold office and they move to court.

The court believes in facts and out of that  sometimes you may end up having the wrong people in office,” said Mbarak.

Unethical behaviour

He said over 70 per cent of public officers elected or appointed have committed to Integrity Code.

Chebukati said that IEBC has in the last two elections tried its best to vet persons vying for any election post and in 2013, all leaders vying for public offices were required to write self-declaration forms to EACC.

However, he said the major challenge the agency faces is the absence of a legal framework on the vetting process for candidates vying for various seats.

“The Commission has for the last 10 years tried to implement the issue of vetting.

It came up with an integrity vetting team since there was no legal framework given by the Constitution and we received 156 cases from EACC, some of which were under investigation,” said Chebukati.

Lumumba said anyone implicated in any unethical act should not vie for office. 

“The legislation of Chapter Six to ensure unethical persons do not get to public office is still inadequate.

We urgently need a law to bar individuals from holding public offices if implicated in unethical acts, for a particular period of time.”

Saying that EACC has done reasonably well thus far, Lumumba called on Kenyans to support the anti-graft body in the war against corruption.

“The beginning of wisdom is the fear of EACC, for if you fear EACC, you are an ethical citizen, meaning you fear God.

The Kenyan culture must change! As a society, we are very tolerant of people who engage in unethical behaviour,” said Lumumba.

This came as EACC regretted an upsurge in the number of cases for persons presenting fake academic certificates.

“The Commission has noted an upsurge in cases of fake academic papers across the public sector. This calls for more accountability by our institutions of learning,” said Wabukala.

EACC said it has adopted the following three strategies in discharging its mandate namely high impact investigation based on public interest, value of loss, and personalities involved, asset tracing and recovery of corruptly acquired assets and corruption prevention.

The commission said it has recovered assets worth Sh20 billion and averted loss of Sh96 billion public funds.

“The only disadvantage we have is the slow judicial process which takes longer.

And this does not mean that EACC is the weak link to graft fight as reported in the media,” he said.

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