The Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) ability to successfully investigate and gather evidence on cases of high corruption in government has been called to question. This is after most of the high-ranking suspects in the recent anti-corruption purge were let off the hook by the EACC and office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Kiharu MP Irungu Kangata says this state of affairs could be deliberate or could be a pointer to a debilitating lack of capacity by the two offices to investigate and prosecute high profile corruption cases. “It is not possible that everyone big mentioned in corruption walks away free. What is the explanation for that? Either the two offices are thoroughly compromised or they are just not up to their work,” he said. He echoed sentiments made this week by Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando who claimed the two agencies could be deliberately sabotaging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption. However, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko, said he has handled the cases brought before him in the most professional manner. “When people allege that I have not done my part, what do they mean? When I receive files from EACC, I make them public and act on them accordingly. I make my decision public and give reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the EACC,” he said. See also: Fake investigators prey on top officials The latest purge was sparked by President Kenyatta’s dramatic decision in March to make public a list of government officials and political leaders under investigation by EACC. Most of the Cabinet Secretaries mentioned in the dossier have been cleared of any wrong doing by the EACC. The five Cabinet secretaries are Charity Ngilu (Lands), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Michael Kamau (Transport), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Davis Chirchir (Energy).
Of the five, only Mr Kamau has been charged alongside other ministry officials, with the illegal design variation of the Kaptama-Kapsokwony- Kimilili road worth Sh30 million. The charge against Kamau will disappoint observers who were expecting top officials at the ministry to be charged over graft on mega projects the ministry is handling. Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli, who was suspended alongside Mr Kamau, is still under investigation by the EACC.
Major allegations Allegations of corruption have dogged multi-billion shilling projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the Lamu Port project, all handled by the Transport ministry. Similarly, the Labour ministry has been dogged by claims of corruption, especially in relation to several projects being undertaken by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). However, no charges have been preferred against Mr Kambi in relation to these corruption allegations, and EACC only approved the lesser charge of irregularly appointing two members to NSSF board of trustees which the DPP quashed. Mr Koskei was also let off the hook on allegations of irregular leasing out government land in Tigoni and irregularly issuing licences to sugar importers. Mrs Ngilu, who has been linked to various land scandals in Nairobi and beyond, was also let off the hook on allegations that she hiked the prize of Waitiki Farm in Mombasa County by Sh110 million.
However, she is still under investigation in connection to the disputed ownership of a two-acre piece of land near State House and 135-acre piece of land in Karen. Mr Chirchir was also cleared of charges that he and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko tried to influence the awarding of a tender at the Kenya Pipeline Corporation. Majority of the people in the EACC’s list of corruption cases it is handling and which it circulated to media houses yesterday, are county officials charged for flouting tendering processes or corruption of between Sh3 million and Sh30 million. Some of the cases listed are old yet the EACC is attempting to pass them off as new. For example, investigations into the acquisition of Konza Malili Ranch began almost three years ago.
The government is said to have lost Sh170 million in the deal to buy land to set up a new techno-city, Kenya’s version of the Silicon Valley in the United States of America. Those who have been charged in connection to the deal include former Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo and Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama. Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala who is also the chairman of the National Anti- Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, termed the prosecutions as a conveyor belt. Meanwhile, there is still no word from the presidency on when the officers who have been cleared should return to work, after the elapse of the two-month deadline to finalise investigations. There is also no word on the fate of officers who are still under probe, some of which might take months or even years to complete.
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