Swearing in of new anti-graft commissioners put off

Tuesday January 12 2016

Mr Philip Kinusu, the nominee for chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), is questioned by the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on December 2, 2015.

Mr Philip Kinisu, the nominee for chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), is questioned by the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on December 2, 2015. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga will not swear in the new EACC team on January 12, 2016 as earlier announced. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Chief Justice Willy Mutunga will not swear in new commissioners for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday, as earlier announced.

Last evening, the CJ’s office issued a statement stating that the ceremony, which would have filled a vacuum created seven months ago, had been cancelled “until further notice”.

Journalists had been invited to cover the event at 8.30am in the Supreme Court Chambers on Tuesday.

The new commissioners to be sworn in are chairman Philip Kinisu, Rose Mghoi Mtambo Macharia, Dabar Maalim Abdi, Paul Mwaniki Gachoka and Sophia Lepuchirit.

NEW INVESTIGATIONS

This means the EACC will continue to be run by its secretariat, with questions on whether the team as it is can conduct new investigations.

In November, President Kenyatta appointed five commissioners under the changed law to work part-time, in a bid to avoid wrangles that punctuated the previous team headed by Mumo Matemu.

Mr Matemu and his deputy Irene Keino resigned in May last year, just before a tribunal formed to investigate commissioners’ conduct could begin work.

The third commissioner, Ms Josephine Onsongo, quit in April.

Mr Matemu’s team had also been accused of secretly meeting with those under investigation as well as being in office under a cloud of corruption allegations surrounding the EACC headquarters, the Integrity Centre, besides himself being a subject of a Court of Appeal case questioning his suitability for office.

NEW COMMISSIONERS

Mr Kinusu, coming from the private sector as a former chairman of consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was expected to calm the conflict between the secretariat and the commissioners, as well as help start new investigations.

He will be assisted by Mr Philip Mwakini Gachoka, former chairman of the Public Procurement Complaints Review and Appeals Board. Mr Gachoka, a lawyer in Nairobi, specializes in commercial services.

Dr Dabar Maalim Abdi has been sitting on the Transition Authority, a body formed to help transfer functions and assets from the national government to counties under the devolved system. He is a medical professional from Garissa County.

Ms Sophia Lekuphchirit claims to be the first woman from the expansive Samburu County to ever join the university, where she studied public administration.

She currently works for the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation and previously served in a number of executive leadership positions in the Public Service Commission and the Central Bank of Kenya.  

Ms Rose Macharia was a member of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, which wound up in December 2015. She also sits on the Kenya ICT Board.

She previously worked for the Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation and for the Higher Education Loans Board.