Defiant governors named in graft list may face arrest
Anti-corruption authorities are considering stepping in to help enforce President Kenyatta’s directive that governors under investigation step aside to clear the way for investigations.
One of the ways is to arrest and charge governors against whom investigations are complete, according to an official of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission who requested not to be named because he is not authorised to comment on the matter.
On Monday, the commission formed a 130-member special team to expedite the investigations and possible prosecution of Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and parastatal heads who have already stepped aside.
Sources said the commission will likely speed up investigations against governors and, where evidence is sufficiently strong, arrest them and charge them.
Once charged, the commission will then recommend that the governors be suspended from office.
This was one of the issues discussed on Monday during a meeting of all EACC regional heads chaired by chief executive Halakhe Waqo to find ways of handling cases of governors who have failed to heed the President’s directive.
“The investigations will go on and depending on the evidence gathered, they will be taken to court. It is only after they have been charged that the commission can recommend their suspension from office. As it is now, nothing can happen,” said the official.
Investigations against some of the governors had been concluded and a decision might be taken to charge them, said the official.
Governors have dismissed Mr Kenyatta’s directive, arguing that they are elected leaders for whom the Constitution provides clear guidelines under which they can step aside.
Governors Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Peter Munya (Meru), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Nathif Jama (Garissa), Godana Doyo (Isiolo), Ukur Yattani (Mandera) and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) are said to be on a list of 175 names of public officers, which the President handed to Parliament last Thursday.
More names of governors are expected to become public when the list is made public on Tuesday.
In his speech last week, Mr Kenyatta directed that all CSs, PSs, governors, senators, MPs, heads of parastatals and members of county assemblies under investigation step aside until their cases are concluded.
MISUSE OF FUNDS
Whereas the President has no powers to either suspend or compel governors facing corruption charges to leave office, the EACC has the mandate to investigate them and arrest them for misuse of public funds and abuse of office.
In its report to the parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs early this month, the commission said it had opened offices in Mombasa, Eldoret, Nyeri, Garissa, Kisumu, Isiolo, Nakuru, Malindi, Machakos, and Malaba in Busia County.
But on Sunday, State House told governors to stop hiding behind the veil of elected leaders and step aside until they are cleared after investigations into allegations against them.
The governors could also face motions of no-confidence from MCAs who came out on Sunday, demanding that the heads of counties obey the President’s directive to step aside.
County Assemblies Forum Chairman Abdi Noor said they had written to the Senate requesting the President’s State of the Nation speech and the EACC report implicating public officials and governors in grand graft.
“It is our responsibility as overseers of county governments to discuss the report and give direction. Corruption is rampant at county governments and appropriate and quick interventions must be undertaken,” Dr Noor said.
He accused the governors of protecting corrupt county officials.
“Governors should not have waited until the President blows the whistle. If they are claiming that they cannot resign to be investigated they should tell us who should fight graft that is threatening to frustrate service delivery at our counties,” he said.
On Monday, Mr Waqo and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko set up the team that will handle the investigations and, if evidence permits, prosecute the CSs, PSs, and heads of parastatals who have stepped aside.
The team has officers from EACC, DPP and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
“Today, CEO of EACC, Mr Halakhe Waqo and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko met to discuss the way forward on how to progress cases which are either complete or at an advanced stages of investigations,” they said in a statement issued at Integrity Centre, Nairobi.
“Following the meeting, a multi-agency team has been constituted in order to satisfy public interest, standards and expectations. The DPP has donated a team of prosecutors to work with EACC team in order to boost capacity. The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Ndegwa Muhoro has been requested to donate a team from the directorate to bolster the process,” they said.