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Economy

EACC boss Kinisu quits amid push for public probe

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Philip Kinisu. PHOTO | FILE
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Philip Kinisu. PHOTO | FILE 

Anti-graft agency boss Phillip Kinisu resigned Wednesday to avoid public scrutiny of his private business dealings, just one day after a Parliamentary committee recommended his ouster.

Mr Kinisu said a recommendation made by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) on Tuesday, asking the President to suspend him and appoint a tribunal to investigate allegations against him, made it difficult for him to discharge his duty.

He resigned hardly eight months after he took up the top job at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) from Mr Mumo Matemu who was also pushed out over integrity issues.

“By this measure (resignation), I believe the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will henceforth be able to focus on carrying out its mandate,” he said in his letter. The legislators were this morning scheduled to debate the JLAC report which had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to establish a tribunal to probe allegations against him.

The JLAC decided to have Mr Kinisu suspended after it found that a petition filed by Mr Albert Mukono Ondieki had “sufficient grounds” to warrant his removal from office.

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He is accused of failing to disclose his interest in Esaki Ltd which was paid Sh35.4 million to supply borehole materials to the National Youth Service between October 2014 and November 2015.

The firm, which he co-owns with his wife and daughter, also received payments from the government amounting to Sh246 million between March 2015 and June this year, but Mr Kinisu maintains that the cash did not come from NYS.

Esaki Limited did business with NYS at a time the EACC was investigating the theft of Sh791 million from the service. “I maintain that the company and I are innocent of the charges made,” Mr Kinisu said in a statement sent to media houses.

He resigned even as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Joyce Laboso called for the disbandment of the EACC and have its role transferred to “a small department” within the National Police Service.

Ms Laboso said the EACC had not given Kenyans value for money and had continually failed to prosecute high profile corruption cases.

She said the high turnover of the commission’s chairmen, including the latest bid to remove Mr Kinisu from office, pointed to a failed bid to “slay the dragon of corruption”.

“In my view, there is nothing that stops us from scrapping this commission and forming a leaner team within the police to specifically pursue corruption cases.

EACC has the mandate to safeguard taxpayer’s money but it has failed,” she said “Quite honestly, the route we have taken in the fight against corruption through the EACC has failed and its time we rethink other avenues. So far, the EACC has done too little to fight the vice,” Dr Laboso said in reaction to the JLAC report.

Additional reporting by Edwin Mutai.

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