What you need to know:
- The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the loss of Sh791 million of taxpayers’ money in fraudulent payments by NYS.
- Through his lawyer Wanyonyi Chebukati, Mr Kinisu has confirmed that the company had received Sh35.4 million from the NYS over the past three-and-a-half years.
Embattled anti-corruption commission Chairman Philip Kinisu was on Thursday put under intense pressure to leave office when fellow commissioners joined calls to have him removed.
The commissioners asked their boss to take “personal responsibility” and leave the anti-graft agency because of his company’s involvement with scandal-riddled National Youth Service.
They warned that Mr Kinisu faced imminent suspension unless he voluntarily stepped aside to pave way for investigations.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the loss of Sh791 million of taxpayers’ money in fraudulent payments by NYS, a scandal that has claimed the careers of senior government officials, including former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
“The commission wishes to inform the public that it has written to the Attorney-General, seeking his legal opinion on the matter, more particularly considering that the view of the commissioners is that the chairperson should take personal responsibility without the necessity of a suspension being invoked,” the team said in a statement.
They added: “This voluntary action will pave way for independent investigations into the matter and also set the standards as the chair of EACC.”
Mr Kinisu and his relatives own Esaki Ltd, the company that was paid millions of shillings by the Devolution ministry and NYS.
Through his lawyer Wanyonyi Chebukati, Mr Kinisu has confirmed that the company had received Sh35.4 million from the NYS over the past three-and-a-half years.
Further revelations, which he has failed to confirm, show that Esaki was licensed to deal with pest control products on March 23, last year, just a day before the Health ministry opened a tender for the supply of insecticides and that it was awarded the contract of Sh150 million.
“By virtue of his office and his relationship with Esaki Ltd, the chairperson’s personal interests are in apparent conflict with those of the public in respect of the subject investigations,” said the commissioners.
“Holders of public office are required to observe high ethical standards and therefore, the view of the commissioners is that the continued occupation of the office of the chairperson of the commission is in apparent or potential conflict with public interest, whether real or perceived,” they added in the statement signed by vice-chairperson Sophia Lepuchirit, chief executive Halakhe Waqo, Mr Dabar Abdi Maalim, Mr Paul Mwaniki Gachoka and Mrs Rose Mghoi Macharia.
They cited the Constitution, the Leadership and Integrity Act and the EACC Code of Conduct to justify their demands.
Neither Mr Kinisu nor his lawyer answered calls from the Daily Nation.
The EACC boss, however, sought to defend himself on July 19, blaming his woes on corruption cartels involving high profile people under investigations and employees at the commission.
He said he resigned from Esaki’s board of directors on April 19, this year “because of his commitment to EACC and that all transactions with NYS, and other government agencies were above board.
He also said he was not directly involved in the NYS investigations and thus the issue of conflict of interest was irrelevant.
But the commissioners countered: “The chairman is tasked with the responsibility of providing policy direction on all matters for the commission, including investigations into corruption, economic crimes and unethical conduct.
The chairperson is also involved in considering files where investigations are concluded and is a joint signatory to files forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions for review and further action.”
Investigations against Mr Kinisu, and by extension, Esaki, are being conducted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Assets Recovery Agency and Kenya Revenue Authority.