Why turf wars could hamper fight on graft
SEE ALSO :Samburu Governor Lenolkulal arrestedThe appointment in January of George Kinoti as the DCI boss and that of Noordin Haji later in March as the DPP gave fresh impetus to the fight against runaway corruption. Public confidence in the war on graft had waned, especially given the EACC had become dysfunctional, with the forced resignation of its commissioners in 2015 and the ouster of yet another chairman in 2016.
State HouseIt was at the height of that drama in October 2016 that President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed his helplessness with the memorable quote, "What do you want me to do?" during a State House summit on the fight against corruption in which he said he had asked dozens of top officials to step aside over graft claims. The leadership vacuum in EACC would later prompt the withdrawal of high-profile graft cases last year following a court ruling that the EACC was not properly constituted when it recommended their prosecution. It was not lost on observers that the shake-up of the agencies involved in the war on corruption was among the first business for President Kenyatta once he had secured a second term.
SEE ALSO :New graft exposé ahead of Uhuru's speechOn August 18 this year, EACC Chairman Eliud Wabukala led the commission chiefs to State House as fears intensified that Uhuru had lost confidence in the agency and was leaning more towards the DCI.
Source of competitionThe President, however, assured the EACC of his support and advised it to work closely with other agencies, saying the war against corruption should not be a source of competition within Government. “Nothing will be further from the truth to say that you do not have my support,” said Uhuru, adding that the anti-corruption fight would bear better results if it was conducted through the multi-agency framework that brings together the DPP, DCI, EACC and other security agencies. The tension between the DCI and EACC had escalated in July when EACC Vice-Chairperson Sophia Lepuchirit sought to have police barred from investigating corruption cases. Ms Lepuchirit was addressing the media after opening a training workshop for integrity assurance officers in Naivasha, where she accused the police of being tainted and hence unfit to probe corruption. Learning of the blunder, the EACC promptly claimed Lepuchirit had been misquoted even though footage from the press conference indicated otherwise. In her own words, which were later withdrawn to save face and play down the apparent conflict, she made reference to results from corruption index surveys where police always came out on top. "In every integrity survey that is done, the police department is always top on matters corruption and this means that they cannot be trusted to fight graft," she said. At the time, the DCI had been seen as usurping the EACC’s powers in probing corruption, even though graft is a criminal matter, hence the overlapping mandates. But Lepuchirit may have been expressing her honest views in questioning the credibility of the DCI, especially when its officers had arrested suspects in the NYS II scam. The DCI had also probed and subsequently arrested top managers of Kenya Power in what is turning out to be a mega procurement scam. "Economic crime cases should be solely investigated by the EACC and the Office of the DPP and police should deal with criminal cases alone," Lepuchirit said.
Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.