Kenya’s suspended officials’ fate unknown two months after corruption purge
They were mentioned in a report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which President Uhuru Kenyatta made public in March.
The President had urged those mentioned adversely to step aside for 60 days for investigations to be done and concluded.
Although the 60-day deadline lapsed last week, no communication has been given by the presidency on whether the officers should return to work.
“I am in the dark too,” said a suspended director of a parastatal, who requested not to be named so as not to be seen to be antagonising the President.
“I gave EACC my statement when they asked me to do so and I have not heard from them since then. So I am waiting to hear the way forward,” he said.
When The Standard on Sunday sought him for comment, the head of Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) Manoah Esipisu referred us to the President’s Advisor on Legal Affairs, Abdikadir Mohammed.
However, our efforts since Friday to get a comment from Mr Mohammed did not bear fruit, as he did not answer his phone or reply to text messages.
Among those suspended were Cabinet secretaries, several Principal Secretaries and heads of parastatals. Several politicians were mentioned too.
Cabinet Secretaries Charity Ngilu (Lands), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Michael Kamau (Roads and Transport) and Davis Chirchir (Energy) were mentioned in the report.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has approved the prosecution of Mr Kamau in relation to illegal variation of the design of the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Kimilili road.
The EACC and DPP both agreed that there was no evidence against Mr Koskei in relation to allegations of using government land in Tigoni for private purposes and recommended that his case be closed.
In the case of Ngilu, both the DPP and EACC concluded that she had no case to answer in relation to allegations of hiking the price of Waitiki farm in Mombasa County. However, the EACC later clarified that some officials are facing multiple allegations, some which are still under investigations. Ngilu is still under probe over the disputed ownership of 135 acre piece of land in Karen and a two-acre prime plot near State House. In the case of Kambi, the EACC recommended that he be charged with abuse of office for illegal appointment of two people to the board of National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
But the DPP disagreed with the EACC recommendation on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge.
“I release a statement every time I receive a file from EACC and I do the same when I make a decision. When files are brought to my office, I give them to my staff to go through them and make recommendations. But the decision to charge or close a file is mine. We have handled this process in the most transparent manner,” the DPP said.
He dispelled rumours of disagreements between him and EACC. “We are in concurrence with the EACC 90 per cent of the times. But whenever I disagree with them, I make a detailed presentation about my reasons,” he said.
Thirteen officers from the DPP’s office are aiding investigators from the EACC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) who are looking in to corruption claims. Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and Nominated MP Sonia Birdi have been arraigned in court on integrity matters after they were caught on camera harassing policemen manning the Gilgil weighbridge.
The DPP recommended that the DCI commence criminal investigations against Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko for harassing police officers at Mtwapa weighbridge in December last year. He also referred the matter to Senate to begin disciplinary action against the senator. Sonko stepped aside from his senatorial duties when he was mentioned in the EACC report. However, he is yet to be cleared of allegations of colluding with Mr Chirchir to influence the award of a tender at Kenya Pipeline Corporation. EACC’s recommendation that Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua be charged was turned down by the DPP because of a High Court order that barred the two institutions from preferring any criminal charges against him.
Former secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia who was in the report has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Siaya Senator James Orengo has also been cleared.