Politics and policy
EACC handed new office lease by its shadowy landlord
Posted Tuesday, June 23 2015 at 10:05
- EACC says it has negotiated a three-year term, whose details it did not disclose.
- The anti-corruption agency had been given up to Tuesday next week to vacate the premises that have housed it since 1997.
The corruption watchdog has secured an extension of its Sh70-million-a-year lease for its Nairobi head office months after it was involved in a public spat with the owners of the building over the tenancy.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Monday confirmed it had obtained extension of the lease, but declined to reveal the new rental terms or the parties with which it had negotiated the deal.
The shadowy owners of the Integrity Centre building had given the EACC up to Tuesday next week to vacate the premises that have housed the corruption watchdog since 1997.
“Please note that EACC is not under threat and will continue occupying Integrity Centre. The lease was renewed for three years and two months,” said the anti-corruption agency in a statement.
Subsequent queries and phone calls to the EACC went unanswered.
Under the old terms, the EACC paid Sh70 million in rent annually to the building’s owners. Just before he was suspended, and subsequently resigned as EACC chairman, Mumo Matemu had requested allocation of Sh400 million to buy a new office block.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich initially proposed to give the agency Sh300 million in the 2015/16 budget but later scrapped the vote just weeks to the Budget Day, saying the EACC had failed to identify a new building to host its headquarters.
The Integrity Centre, previously held as a public asset by the Deposit Protection Fund (DPF), has of late been claimed publicly by both the Revack Limited, a company associated with former Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott, and Tegus Limited.
In April Revack, purporting to be acting on behalf of Tegus, gave the EACC up to June 30 to vacate its premises after it accused a section of its leadership of conniving to transfer the property to a third party.
The building was initially owned by Trade Bank, also associated with Mr Biwott, which collapsed in 1993 with about Sh300 million owed to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
The CBK’s Deposit Protection Fund seized and put the asset to auction but Mr Biwott and associates formed Revack Limited on May 25, 1994, which outbid other contestants to buy back the building.
The mystery over its ownership played out in April when it featured prominently as the cause of a fallout that pitted the EACC commissioners, headed by Mr Matemu, against the secretariat headed by Mr Waqo.
Just before he left office, Mr Matemu said the EACC was investigating the “ownership structure” of Integrity Centre after Revack issued a quit notice on behalf of Tegus, the supposed official owners.
At some point, Mr Matemu even suspended Michael Mubea, the EACC’s deputy CEO, accusing him of aiding Tegus to illegally take over Integrity Centre, an action which was reversed upon Mr Matemu’s suspension.