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EACC: Governors’ proposal to BBI will erode gains made in graft war

By Mireri Junior | November 13th 2020 at 14:01:00 GMT +0300

Governors Nderitu Mureithi (Laikipia), Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) address the press in Naivasha on November 9, 2020, during a two-day retreat to discuss the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has rejected a proposal to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) team to excuse governors from collective criminal responsibility, saying such move will erode the gains made in the war against corruption.

In the principle of criminal collective responsibility, governors being county chiefs, are compelled to take responsibility for graft offences perpetrated by those serving in their administration, something they want to be reversed.

However, investigations have revealed that governors have used their proxies to commit the offences hence excusing them from investigations will be a drawback in the war against graft.

In a statement sent to newsrooms on Friday, EACC said a proposal by Council of Governors to remove collective criminal responsibility in the management of resources at the County Governments level to align with the principle of personal criminal culpability.

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“EACC has noted with concern the proposal to remove collective criminal responsibility in the management of resources at the County Governments level to align with the principle of personal criminal culpability,” read the statement.

EACC said if included in the BBI report, the proposal will give governors room to conceal their roles when engaging in corruption.

While lauding the BBI task force for giving recommendations on how to strengthen the war on corruption, the commission warned that the proposal by governors will water down the said recommendations.

.“In order to sustain the intended impact and keep the proposals in tandem with the current challenges, EACC acknowledges the need to consider constitutional and legislative reforms that will go a long way in strengthening the institution and the laws and not those that will erode the gains made so far.”

The Commission said if accepted, governors will issue verbal instructions to junior employees, intimidate and eventually receive benefits through proxies.

EACC said if considered, such a law will shield governors from prosecution even in cases where they are the main culprits hence promoting impunity.

 “EACC cautions against considering the proposal by Governors to remove the element of collective criminal responsibility, adding that responsibility for crime has both elements of personal and collective responsibility.”

With more money set to be released to the counties, increasing chances of corruption, the governors had proposed that the law be more focused on personal responsibility on such crimes.

“Collective criminal responsibility in the management of resources at the county government should be removed and aligned with the principle of personal criminal culpability. The president is never punished for the graft of a Cabinet Secretary,” said Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana.

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