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Irene Keino graft agency woes haunt search for IEBC job

By Jael Mboga | July 13th 2021

Irene Keino is one of the interviewees for IEBC commissioner job. [File, Standard]

Irene Keino’s anti-graft agency woes haunted her hunt for an IEBC job when she faced the panel today.

She was on the spot over being removed from one agency and seeking a role in another.

In 2015, Keino, who at the time was a suspended Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission vice-chairperson, resigned.

She quit through a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta, citing personal reasons for her resignation.

In the letter to Uhuru, Keino said it was inappropriate for her to continue serving the EACC without the full confidence of Kenyans following questions over her competence and graft allegations.

Her decision to leave office came just hours after the tribunal to investigate her was sworn in.

The tribunal was constituted by the president was set to investigate both her and suspended EACC chair Mumo Matemu on their conduct and determine whether they should be removed from office.

In the letter, Keino said her resignation was intended to “spare my family the anguish of a judicial process that will cause them unimaginable pain and also lend my support in the fight against corruption”.

Keino is one of 36 hopefuls eyeing four vacant IEBC commissioner posts. 

Selection panellist Joseph Mutie said Parliament recommended Keino’s removal and recommended to the president that he may appoint a tribunal. However, before she could meet the tribunal, she resigned.

Mutie asked, “Do you think somebody who has been removed from one commission for ethical irregularities or failures can join another commission?”

“All appeals and avenues have to be exhausted ... for all fairness,” Keino said.

Asked whether she challenged the decision by Parliament to find her ethically unsuitable, she said she did not.

In her application, Keino was required to indicate whether she had been dismissed or otherwise removed from unemployment or any board. She was required to answer yes or no.

She answered no.

Mutie wondered whether Keino resigned before she was sacked so that practically she could say she was not removed.

Questioned on whether she didn't think Parliament's approval for her removal was the same as being removed from office, Keino said, “I sought guidance from legal minds who advised that unless a removal had been finalised then it does not tie into the removal (sic)."

A total of 669 applications were received by the panel for the commissioner posts.

The vacancies arose following the resignation of four commissioners, leaving only chairman Wafula Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu in office.

The seven-member IEBC Selection Panel chaired by Dr Elizabeth Muli is sitting at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

The shortlisted candidates include Dr Salim Ndemo, who served at the Public Service Commission for seven years, former Salaries and Remuneration Commissioner Sellestine Anna Mbii-Kiuluku and Murshid Abdalla, who served at the National Police Service Commission.

Others are Prof Joseph Naituli and Dr Rose Musyoka, who sat at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the National Land Commission respectively.

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