MP crafts bill to disband EACC

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

In what could be a classic case of  the hunter becoming the hunted, a Jubilee legislator has crafted a bill to consign the anti-graft agency to the grave.

Aldai MP Cornelly Serem yesterday kick-started his mission to slay the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) by publishing a bill, which, if approved by the House, will see Article 79 of the Constitution, which creates the commission, repealed.

And once tabled in Parliament, the anti-graft body, which has spearheaded the fight against corruption, will literally be on its knees begging for dear life.

Article 79 anchors the commission in the Constitution and provides for a legal framework to guide its mandate and functions.

“The principle object of the bill is to amend the Constitution to repeal Article 79 of the Constitution on the establishment of an Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission,”reads part of the bill.

Serem argues that the commission has failed to address the issues under its mandate, leading to the current rampant cases of corruption in the country.

He added that EACC’s mandate unnecessarily duplicated the work of the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) under the National Police Service (NPS).

Further, Serem said the commission had not demonstrated a commensurate level of outcomes despite receiving sufficient budgetary support over the seven years of its existence.

“Conversely the commission has demonstrated a lack of capacity, with majority of its cases being thrown out of court due to lack of evidence or mishandling of the cases,” the bill goes on to say.

Serem said there was no way every year, Kenyans could be talking about corruption yet there was a team to specifically tackle graft issues.

“How much more money are we going to lose as a country? We have had enough and now we are saying EACC must go!” he added.

A constitutional amendment, with support of at least two-thirds of the House, is needed for it to be approved so as to disband the anti-graft body.

Commissions envisaged in Chapter 15 of the Constitution include the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission, National Land Commission, electoral commission, Parliamentary Service Commission and Judicial Service Commission.

Others are the Teachers Service Commission, the National Police Service Commission, the Commission on Revenue Allocation and the Public Service Commission.

Serem’s proposal comes as the government steps up the war against rampant corruption in the public service.

So far DPP Noordin Haji has charged more than 40 people including suspended PS Lillian Omollo and National Youth Service (NYS) boss Richard Ndubai over the NYS scandal.

MPs have also lately turned the heat on EACC, a case in point being the ongoing probe at the Kenya Pipeline Company where it alleged up to Sh600 million was stolen through inflation of tender prices.

EACC chief executive Halakhe Waqo, who  appeared before the Energy committee on Tuesday, found himself on the receiving end, as MPs ignored his explanation and instead demanded to know why the commission had taken years to complete the probe.

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