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EACC not doing enough to stem wave of corruption in Kenya

By The Standard | July 20th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

NAIROBI: In what is now becoming a familiar script from Integrity Centre, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chairman Phillip Kinisu claims his reputation is being tarnished. This is not the first time an anti-corruption chief is claiming he is being sabotaged.

Such claims have however never been proven beyond the sensational manner in which they are made. Given the resources at the disposal of EACC, Mr Kinisu must make it public who he claims are involved in a scheme to tarnish his name, for if he is able to establish a scheme against him, it follows he knows who the architects are.

Blanket statements will not suffice and Kenyans should not settle for anything less. This has been the story for far too long while cartels involved in corruption continue pilfering from the public coffers. Mr Kinisu is charged with the task of clearing cartels from our midst and should not therefore turn around and cry wolf.

Mr Kinisu’s claims were made after claims that a firm owned by his wife, Esaki Limited, was involved in dealings with the National Youth Service (NYS) and received a payment of Sh35 million. Mr Kinisu admits the company exists and at some point he served as its director.

Last year, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru had to step down amid revelations of impropriety at the National Youth Service, leading to a loss of over Sh791 million.

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While EACC had earlier cleared Waiguru of wrongdoing, it made a complete turnaround in February 2016 after a sworn affidavit by businesswoman Josephine Kabura was leaked. Preliminary investigations into the scam showed a complex system that was used to fleece NYS.

The appointment of Kinisu to lead EACC last year was seen as a new beginning at an anti-graft agency that was heavily criticised and branded incompetent and unable to fight corruption.

Given that cases of high-profile corruption continue unabated at the highest levels of society while EACC looks on helplessly, it is easy for Kenyans to conclude that perhaps the main purpose of EACC is to form a firewall around the corruption cartels, especially when the agency gets sucked into the mess and has to investigate itself.

Only naivety can lead one to believe EACC is the answer to corruption in the country. That has never been the case since 1997 when Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority was formed. It was replaced by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission in 2003 and later EACC In 2011. All previous commissioners left the office under unclear circumstances.

Scandals like Chickengate, Goldenberg, Anglo leasing, NYS and lately, the Euro Bond remain unresolved despite all the resources pumped into EACC to solve them.

It is easy for EACC to trade barbs with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over procedural matters than get to the root of corruption.

The back-and-forth blame games between EACC and the DPP only help the corrupt escape justice as they are able to cover their tracks.

Clearly, this signals either a lack of commitment or perhaps compromise. Unless things change drastically at Integrity Centre, public confidence will continue to be on a downward spiral.

ethics and anti-corruption commission (eacc) philip kinisu nys scandal
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