About a fortnight ago, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in conjunction with the office of the Director of Public Prosecution were exemplified for their collaborative efforts in the successful prosecution of the NCPB maize scandal suspects, Judy Wakhungu and MP John Waluke. The news was well received and restored the faith of many Kenyans who have for a long time had their doubts with the country’s institutions.
While still basking in this glory, the agency’s commissioner Dr. Mgoi also announced that the EACC has so far recovered ksh. 10.4 billion since inception. EACC’s true testament is however is yet to come, because those few seconds of fame have invited scrutiny into how the agency runs it’s affairs.
The EACC was flagged off in August of 2011 in order to among other things, assist on the investigation of corruption cases particularly those involving the public coffers and the offices set up to administer over them.
It’s predecessor the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) had failed beyond its bounds and set a horrible record. The new body was also fettered its own courts with a rank similar to that of a high court in Kenya, specially constituted to hear it’s cases.
The case that has almost torn to pieces every thread of faith is the one it had against certain beneficiaries of the KPA Pension Scheme irregular transfers. The case was filed sometime in 2017 against some 11 parties seeking to recover ksh. 70 million allegedly lost to the 11 from KPA. On 14th July, 2020, the EACC reported back to court seeking to withdraw the charges after reaching a settlement outside court, a fact that Kenyans have not taken lightly.
The agency’s boss Twalib Mbarak in a statement came to the defense of the agency reiterating that out of court settlement is a relief available even in criminal cases. Now the EACC is being accused, and rightly so, of selective prosecution of cases. Given the track record, it is easy to see why.
It is whispered that within EACC, there are corrupt senior officials who are bribed to look the other way when files are placed before them for Investigation. Names have not been mentioned yet but judging from the response of the LSK President Nelson Havi, it seems the secret is out.
The EACC acclaimed that its primary mandate is the recovery of lost monies, and not necessarily to pursue the jailing of perpetrators. In sharp criticism, the Law Society of Kenya president Mr. Nelson Havi averred that the purpose of criminal law is to punish wrongdoers, if not to deter such behaviour, then to give reprieve to the victim in this case Kenyans. Indeed recovery of the monies was an impressive result, but the criminals walk away Scot free and that defeats the purpose.
The EACC has been accused of turning a blind eye to certain cases and focusing on others where certain waheshimiwa are not adversely mentioned. LSK Nairobi Member Herine Kabata pointed out several cases that have been recommended for investigations but which have since left a cold trail, one among them the Kenyatta National Hospital being unable to account for some 21 million. A mother Case in point is the mobile clinics dumped in a yard in Mombasa and which cost the Government over 800 millions shillings to procure.
The manner in which the EACC has handled matters at Kenya Pipeline also draws attention given that just today, the former Kenya Pipeline boss and William Ruto confidant Charles Tanui was summoned by the agency.
The Law Society of Kenya Members have also reiterated that EACC was particularly reluctant to look into the affairs of KPLC after complaints were registered about how it tabulates it’s charges. What has particularly drawn blood from the agency was it’s announcement that it is currently probing 7 counties over mismanagement of Covid 19 response funds, among them Kilifi and Bungoma where ordinary jerrycans are said to have been purchased at a cost of Ksh.10, 000/- each.
The Law Society of Kenya now wants to furnish them with a list of their progress with all the cases that have been recommended to it to inveatigate. The LSK was concerned that the EACC being a function of the executive arm of government is likely to exceed its powers or otherwise abuse them hence the higher standard of responsibility placed upon them.
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