Uhuru appoints 4 to probe suspended EACC officials
23 April 2015, 19:15
Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed a four team Committee to probe suspended EACC officials linked in a corruption scandal.
The president Thursday appointed retired Judge Justice Jonathan Bowen Havelock to lead the committee of four in a Kenya Gazette notice.
The other members of the Committee are Margaret Shava, Muathe Issa and Juster Nkoroi.
The country's Kenya's top anti-corruption officials were suspended Thursday following a bitter standoff with parliament and after they alleged widespread graft in the east African nation.
President Kenyatta removed the chairman and deputy chairwoman of Kenya's Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) after MPs voted to sanction the pair, accusing them of incompetence and abuse of office.
The crisis in the fight against graft comes less than a month after dozens of top Kenyan politicians and civil servants were named in an EACC report that gave a damning indictment of the scale of corruption in the country.
A total of 175 people were named in the report, including five cabinet ministers, 13 governors and a host of civil servants, MPs and members of the judiciary.
Kenyatta had also ordered those named in the report to step aside while they are under investigation.
Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that even though the EACC bosses had now also been suspended pending another investigation into their work, he insisted that this "in no way hinders the work" of the anti-corruption body.
Last month Kenyatta called corruption "one of the biggest obstacles to our shared vision of security, growth and prosperity", and the presidency has vowed an "unwavering war against corruption" in which there will be "no sacred cows".
But earlier this month the now-suspended deputy chairwoman of the EACC, Irene Keino, had complained publicly that an unnamed "clique" was engaged in a "brazen attempt to force my resignation" and break up the anti-corruption body.- 'Rampant corruption' -
Anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International said he suspension of the officials "threatens current anti-corruption efforts".
"It is important that we do not lose the momentum gained in the fight against corruption," said Samuel Kimeu, head of Transparency International Kenya.
The EACC's latest report, which was released last month, described the Ministry of Lands as "bedevilled with rampant corruption" and run by a "cartel" linked to minister Charity Ngilu. Her predecessor, James Orengo, is also under investigation for involvement in irregular land deals.
Transport and infrastructure minister Michael Kamau is accused of irregularly awarding contracts and inflating the cost of Kenya's flagship infrastructure project -- a new standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi at the centre of a major deal with China.
Other ministers who have stepped aside pending investigation are agriculture minister Felix Koskei, labour minister Samuel Kazungu Kambi and energy minister Davis Chirchir.
The governors of Kenya's main cities Nairobi and Mombasa, Evans Kidero and Hassan Joho, are accused of procurement irregularities and land grabbing respectively, while a former auditor-general, Patrick Omutia, is accused of defrauding the World Bank.
Last month a Kenyan court charged seven former officials including an ex-minister in connection with a multi-million dollar corruption scam involving bogus state contracts.
Known as the "Anglo-Leasing scandal" after a British firm that was hired at hugely inflated costs to provide a new passport printing system, the overall money involved has been estimated at around $640 million (580 million euros).
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!