MPs vote to send anti-graft team home
The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission and its top brass will be sent packing any time now after MPs passed a new law disbanding it.
Debating the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill that will establish the Independent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, MPs criticised director PLO Lumumba for his approach and performance.
If the Bill is assented to, which is likely next week, he and his top staff will go home.
President Kibaki will, within two weeks, set up a panel of nine people to recruit a new commission.
The Bill provides for KACC members who wish to work for the new agency to re-apply and those accepted will be vetted.
During heated debate on the Bill, which ended at midnight on Tuesday, front and the backbenchers united to roundly condemn Prof Lumumba.
The scathing attacks, which at times became personal, appeared to confirm weekend remarks in Nyeri by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka that MPs were bent on removing him.
The MPs accused Prof Lumumba of using his position to engage in petty politics and turning the fight against graft into a public relations show.
The debate marked a complete change of heart after their unanimous approval of his appointment in July last year.
The war of words with Tourism assistant minister Cecily Mbarire and a recent raid on assistant minister James Gesami’s rural home were cited as examples of Prof Lumumba’s shortcomings.
“The fact that an MP may be engaged in misconduct is not necessarily grand corruption. The commission, under its current leadership, thinks that when it puts an MP in trouble, it is dealing with corruption. That is a misguided strategy,” Lands Minister James Orengo said.
MPs also cited Prof Lumumba’s participation in a recent demonstration by lawyers at Ardhi House, the Lands ministry headquarters, as proof he was not doing his job.
There was also near unanimity that the new agency should not have prosecutorial powers.
“It will be wrong to give this commission prosecutorial powers. Even the police who investigate cases and arrest people do not have the powers to prosecute,”’ Mr Orengo said.
Water Minister Charity Ngilu, whose docket has been under investigations by the KACC since October last year, said it would misuse the powers.
But Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo urged the MPs to rethink their stand on powers to prosecute, saying judging the body on the performance of Prof Lumumba would be wrong.