Anglo Leasing probe to blame for EACC fallout

Saturday March 14 2015

From left: Samuel Bundotich, Chris Obure, Francis Chahonyo, Sammy Kyungu, David Lumumba, Joseph Magari and Dave Mwangi when they appeared in a Nairobi court to answer corruption charges on March 4, 2015. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI

From left: Samuel Bundotich, Chris Obure, Francis Chahonyo, Sammy Kyungu, David Lumumba, Joseph Magari and Dave Mwangi when they appeared in a Nairobi court to answer corruption charges on March 4, 2015. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL BORN MAINA
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The fight for the Anglo Leasing investigation files is at the heart of the fallout at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Sunday Nation can reveal.

Our investigations have established that the war of attrition between commissioners and the secretariat, resulting in the EACC implosion this past week, goes back to last year when investigations into the multi-billion-shilling scandal were restarted after close to 10 years of stalling.

The fight puts into question the sanctity of the remaining investigation files which, according to impeccable sources at the commission, could have been tampered with.

Sources claimed that at the height of the investigations, some Anglo Leasing suspects targeted top EACC officials whom they intended to “soften” in an attempt to remove themselves from the list of those earmarked for prosecution.

“There were accusations and counter-accusations after crucial documents in one of the files went missing only to be reconstituted,” said a top officer familiar with the shenanigans.

On Saturday, EACC chairman Mumo Matemu told the Sunday Nation that the commission was conducting an audit on key files to establish their movement. The file audit was meant to establish accountability, he added.

“I don’t know of any files that we were asking for. What we are doing is establishing a system to monitor the movement of files and what we did was to make an item of agenda called high profiled files which Parliament had asked for through the committee on Justice and Legal Affairs,” said Mr Matemu.

While interdicting deputy CEO Michael Mubea, Mr Matemu had asked him to hand over files to him instead of the CEO, Mr Halakhe Waqo.

“Hand over any matters/files that you are currently handling to the chairperson,” stated Mr Matemu in a letter.

These files, according to Mr Matemu, are used as indicators of the government’s commitment in the fight against corruption. In an alleged petition against Mr Matemu to the President last September, EACC commissioners Ms Irene Keino and Prof Jane Onsongo accused the chairman of asking for investigations files through the backdoor.

“He severely interferes with operation matters and the motive is sinister. For instance, he asks for certain investigation files through unofficial methods. He avoids to ask for a status on the file through the CEO. We have requested the CEO to put in controls that will curtail the interference,” they said in the memo which they have since retracted.

The two said the issues raised in the petition had since been resolved and that the petition was never delivered to the President. President Kenyatta’s spokesman Mr Manoah Esipisu confirmed that Uhuru’s office had received a public petition against EACC.

“We wish to state the letter was never discussed in the commissioners meeting and the same was never dispatched by us. The issues raised are no longer valid. We dissociate ourselves from the letter and irrevocably recant the sentiments in the same letter attributable to us,” they said in another letter to Mr Matemu.

LIFTED SUSPENSION

On Saturday, there was more confusion when Mr Matemu said he had lifted Mr Mubea’s suspension and instead asked him to go on leave in a stormy meeting at Integrity Centre on Friday.

“At first it was a divided meeting. There was confusion on whether to sustain his suspension, allow him back to work or grant him his annual leave. It was then agreed that annual leave could be prudent,” said a top official of the commission.

However, other sources said that Mr Mubea’s suspension had been withdrawn without conditions.

On Saturday, we established that the Parliamentary Committee on Justice chaired by Mr Samuel Chepkonga had given EACC until April 7 to show the status of mega scandals they were investigating.

“When the commission went to Parliament, the commissioners were pressed hard to reveal the progress made in the fight against graft especially high-profile cases and that is why he (Matemu) asked to be given the files so that he could know the progress,” said a top official of EACC.