EACC struggles with MCAs' brawling cases - Daily Nation

EACC blames staff shortage for slow pace in concluding cases

Tuesday October 9 2018

Murang'a MCAs in a confrontation

Murang'a MCAs in a confrontation on January 16, 2018 over assembly leadership. EACC is struggling with a string of unresolved cases involving fistfights among members of the county assemblies with some dating two years. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GRACE GITAU
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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is struggling with a string of unresolved cases involving fistfights among members of county assemblies, with some dating two years.

The commission has blamed the delay in the conclusion of the over six cases on shortage of staff, which has been attributed to inadequate funding.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, EACC Central Region Director Charles Rasugu revealed that none of the cases involving physical confrontation among MCAs in the area under his jurisdiction have been concluded.

Cases of fistfights in assemblies have been prevalent in Nyeri and Murang’a counties.

FOUR INVESTIGATORS

Nation established that the commission’s Central Region office which serves 10 counties has less than four investigators who are charged with the responsibility of investigating corruption cases and unethical behaviour of State officers.

The investigators have been bombarded with cases on misappropriation of funds in the counties, shifting their focus to former governors and other senior county officials.

This has been at the expense of concluding cases involving unruly MCAs who have in some instances injured their colleagues and destroyed property.

One of the recent cases involved the alleged assault of Magutu MCA Pauline Wanjira by her colleague Anthony Ndagita of Kirimukuyu.

But Mr Ndiagita denied beating the MCA.

INTERNAL PROBE

“We have received a report from the assembly’s Powers and Privileges Committee and investigations have started. We had to wait for the assembly to conclude their internal investigation,” said Mr Rasagu.

The report recommended that the commission trains the MCAs on the code of conduct and ethics for State officers.

This is amid reports that the MCA was summoned to the Director of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi and questioned on the violence that took place in a hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

TANZANIA SCUFFLE

The commission is yet to summon ward representatives who witnessed the scuffle and might also consider travelling to Tanzania and question the staff at the hotel and confirm if a report was made to the local police.

But this not the only case of violence involving members of the county assemblies that the commission is investigating.

One of the first cases of physical violence reported in Nyeri in 2016 is still under investigation.

The scuffle involved former Chinga MCA Paul Ngiria, who was opposing a plot to oust the former Governor Nderitu Gachagua and a group of MCAs behind the impeachment attempt.

Mr Ngiria was accosted by his colleagues as he entered the chambers and within seconds a tirade of words rent the air and the assembly members started punching one another.

The commission recorded statements from the MCAs, staff and two journalists who were present during the scuffle.

“For a case to be concluded and a file forwarded to the DPP, our investigators have to collect and analyse the evidence, record statements from witnesses and ensure that they build a strong case,” said the EACC boss.

MURANG’A MCAS

Another attack being investigated by the EACC took place in November 2017 where Murang’a MCAs stormed the office of county clerk Chris Kinyanjui seeking to evict him on accusations of “underfunding them".

The MCAs were summoned to appear at the EACC headquarters at Integrity Centre.

According to Mr Rasugu, their colleagues in Nairobi are investigating the matter.

The unruly members started breaking desks and throwing around books and other office items.

In January, Murang’a MCAs again traded blows when two warring factions clashed over majority party leadership.

The dispute was resolved after the Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and Governor Mwangi Wa Iria intervened.

Three months ago, the MCAs were at it gain on the floor of the House after they differed over the tabling of the county integrated development plan report.

The commission is prioritising cases that involve the loss of huge amounts of money and where prominent individuals are involved.

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