Anti-graft team pushing to have governors locked out of polls

What you need to know:

  • Anti-graft commission's move, which will also affect national government officials seeking elective posts, could lead to a flurry of court battles.
  • EACC has so far taken to court 281 people in relation to corruption and economic crime cases in the counties.
  • The report includes allegations that county chiefs have been unable to explain how they have spent billions of shillings allocated to their counties.
  • In Kilifi, the commission is concluding investigations into possible misuse and wastage of over a billion shillings.

Anti-corruption authorities want governors, county officials and members of county assemblies who have corruption-related court cases to be locked out of this year’s General Election, the Nation can reveal.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is compiling a list of the affected based on those who are already facing charges and those under investigation and intends to refuse them clearance.

“So as to stop the misuse and rampant wastage of billions of shillings given to counties, we will go for those who have enriched themselves using taxpayers resources. They will be taken to court and those hoping to vie barred from getting clearance for nomination,” Mr Michael Mubea, the chief executive of operations at EACC, said in an interview.

The commission’s move, which will also affect national government officials seeking elective posts, could lead to a flurry of court battles. The practice has in the past been that one can only be barred from elections if he/she had been convicted and gone through the appeal process as stipulated in Article 99 of the Constitution.

The EACC, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are mandated to clear all aspirants before they present their certificates to the electoral commission.

ECONOMIC CRIME CASES

Among those targeted are Governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Adhi Godana (Isiolo), Adam Nathif (Garissa), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a) all of whom have been interviewed by EACC.

EACC has so far taken to court 281 people in relation to corruption and economic crime cases in the counties. Those taken to court comprise county government officers, private persons, companies and directors.

The report includes allegations that county chiefs have been unable to explain how they have spent billions of shillings allocated to their counties.

As part of its changed strategy to go after devolved corruption in counties, EACC has opened investigations into unexplained quick rise in fortunes of governors, their spouses, children, county officials and their aides.

Mr Mubea said ongoing investigations into procurement issues, crooked employment and loss of funds are already at an advanced stage in Nairobi, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Murang’a, Nyamira and Kilifi counties. Suspects from the seven counties will be taken to court in a couple of weeks.

In Kilifi, the commission is concluding investigations into possible misuse and wastage of over a billion shillings.

TAKE LEGAL ACTION

One of the matters in the Kilifi investigation is the purchase of the 11-acre Mtwapa Bus Park and market land in which an acre was bought at Sh28 million, bringing the total to Sh308 million, yet an acre at the location goes for about Sh3 million.

In Nairobi, EACC will move to charge 12 MCAs over a fist-fight that marred attempts to kick out Governor Evans Kidero on September 29, 2016 after they lost a case where they had hoped to stop EACC from taking legal action against them.

The commission is also finalising new investigations into loss of funds and abuse of office in the Nairobi County Executive.

In Nyamira, the commission will take to court several senior officials for fraudulent employment of senior staff.

According to Mr Mubea, the commission will next month issue guidelines on how to enforce the leadership and integrity regulations which will be used to bar those accused of corruption and economic crimes.

The EACC is basing its vetting authority on the Constitution, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Leadership and Integrity, Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes and Public Officer Ethics Acts.

FIGHT CORRUPTION

“One of the challenges we might face is that the suspects might use Article 99 of the Constitution which states that you will not be barred from an election until you have exhausted all appeal mechanisms,” he said.

Mr Mubea explained that the commission was unable to enforce the Integrity regulations in the 2013 General Election since the mechanism was not in place and because the anti-corruption body was in transition from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to EACC. At the time, the commission did not have a CEO and a deputy CEO.

He said they had instructed their investigators to deal with the cases quickly so that those found culpable could be taken to court before election campaigns heat up.

Renewed efforts to fight corruption have seen the investigation and prosecution of dozens of individuals since the start of the year.

This month, EACC officers arrested the Trans Nzoia Speaker, clerk and 38 MCAs for obtaining Sh47,000 illegal allowances each to collect the body of their colleague from Nairobi. Interestingly, the body of their colleague, Ronald Matongolo, had not been kept in Nairobi but within their county at the time they obtained the money.

Still within the month, EACC took to court Kisii County Trade chief officer John Obwocha over the loss of Sh50 million through a parallel liquor licensing scheme.

Last month, eight Bungoma county officials were charged in court with breaching procurement rules in awarding a tender to supply 10 wheelbarrows to the county at Sh109,000 each.

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