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Anti-corruption chief Philip Kinisu should leave office

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | August 2nd 2016

Corruption claims against Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Philip Kinisu call into question the integrity of an officer charged with fighting graft.

Through his lawyers, Mr Kinisu admitted Esaki Ltd received Sh35 million in 2014 from the Health ministry, but adds Esaki Ltd did legitimate business with the Government, dismissing claims of conflict of interest. Esaki Ltd also received Sh246 million from the Devolution ministry between March 2015 and June 2016.

A multi-agency task-force comprised of the Director of Criminal Investigations, Asset Recovery and Kenya Revenue Authority is investigating Esaki Ltd, with Mr Kinisu already having been questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department. Legally, Mr Kinisu remains innocent till proven guilty. However, the matter has clearly put EACC into headwinds, raising questions over its legitimacy in fighting runaway graft.

Chapter six of the Kenya Constitution 2010 puts a high threshold of integrity for public office holders, with the EACC playing a central role. When President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over names of public officers facing corruption charges to Parliament last year, those adversely mentioned stepped aside, paving way for investigations.

Mr Kinisu’s continued stay in office even as investigations into various deals involving NYS raise questions, especially when EACC is investigating individuals and public institutions over economic malpractices, is untenable. The Constitution behoves public officials to place public interest before self while executing their responsibilities.

For years, public officials faced with charges of impropriety have declined to take personal responsibility, thus entrenching impunity while eroding public confidence. Because EACC is tasked with fighting corruption, its officials, like Caesar’s wife, must be above reproach. Integrity rules demand Kinisu’s resignation. This will act to boost fledging public confidence in EACC in the fight against corruption.

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