Governors charged in court with corruption cases will step aside, the just concluded national Devolution Conference resolved, handing the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) a major boost in his anti-corruption crusade.
The governors have asked investigative agencies, among them the DPP, the police and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to work closely with the Judiciary to ensure that officials facing charges vacate office.
“All State officers and public officers that are charged in court in corruption scandals shall, moving forward, step aside,” states the final communique issued following the conclusion of the Sixth Devolution Conference held in Kirinyaga.
“Investigative institutions shall strictly follow the law in the execution of their mandate,” said the statement from the conference held under the theme ‘Deliver. Transform. Measure. Remaining Accountable’.
The courts have in the past blocked DPP Noordin Haji’s bid to have State officers charged with corruption forced out of the office. At the moment, State Officers charged in courts have found solace in Section 62 (2) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which grants blanket immunity to constitutional office holders stating they can only vacate office “in the manner prescribed by Constitution”.
Mr Haji has particularly been critical of Section 62(1 of the EACC Act which allows a State officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime to be suspended, at half pay, “with effect from the date of the charge until the conclusion of the case”.
“The Penal Code and the EACC Act, among other laws, shall in the next one year be amended in order to strengthen enforcement of laws and enhance collaboration and coordination of all agencies in the war against corruption,” states the communique issued yesterday.
Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal remains in office despite a corruption case that has seen the courts freeze his bank accounts.