In this interactive series, we invite readers to send in questions to select public figures. This week, Eliud Wabukala, the chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, responds to your questions.
Chairman, before you joined the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Secretariat was against being vetted. Do you have plans of vetting the Secretariat and how is your working relationship with them?
Edward B Wekesa, Eldoret
Edward B Wekesa, Eldoret
I have a good working relationship with both the staff and the commissioners. Please understand that there is nothing like secretariat and the commissioners. We are one institution working for the good of the country. The staff is hard-working and committed to the cause. Vetting of staff is not a one-time event but a continuous process.
You are on record complaining about senior government officials who are always out to frustrate the Commission in investigating and prosecuting “high voltage” cases touching on grand corruption, what step is EACC employing in getting rid of these powerful cartels?
Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Malindi
EACC, among other functions, is a law enforcement agency and as such we have charged in court senior personalities including Cabinet Secretaries, sitting Governors, Members of Parliament and Heads of Parastatals. As of now, over 1,000 public officials are in court.
A recent study revealed that a majority of our youth would be willing to engage in corrupt deals to secure their interests. What has become of this future generation? How can EACC mitigate against this worrying narrative?
Komen Moris, Eldoret
Komen Moris, Eldoret
Parenting is a social responsibility. The behaviour of the youth is a reflection of the society. All must take responsibility and bring up their children in the fear of the Lord. As a Commission, we have partnered with a number of schools to run Integrity Clubs and undertake public education to warn them of the dangers of corruption. We have also had input in the curriculum to include value-based teaching in the learning institutions.
Since assuming office as the EACC chairman, do you find corruption an invisible hydra-headed enemy that your predecessors have been unable to tame or are you navigating the waters well? Can you promise Kenyans to have hope that you will slay the dragon of corruption?
David M Kigo, Nairobi
Kenya has the necessary tools in form of laws, regulations, policies and institutions to combat corruption and unethical conduct. EACC, on its part, has forged partnerships, networks and coalitions against this vice. It is upon us to take our respective roles and responsibility in ensuring a corrupt free society that upholds integrity and the rule of law.
Why does it take too long to conclude cases reported to your office when evidence is readily available?
The standard of proof in corruption cases is beyond reasonable doubt. Investigations therefore entail not only collection of evidence but compiling and analysing it in order to satisfy the required legal threshold. If you recall, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of United Kingdom took five years to investigate and charge the head of Barclays Bank in UK.
Is the fight against corruption only meant for “small fish” like traffic police officers?
Adrian Oketch, Samburu
The law is applied uniformly to all acts of corruption regardless of the status of those involved. As I have cited above, the Commission has charged over 1,000 senior public officials in court. A traffic Police Constable arrested for collecting bribes is not a “small fish” as perceived; our investigations have established that some low ranking officers have amassed wealth running into millions of shillings within a few months which is not proportionate to their income. Besides, if not contained, the so-called small fish will one day turn to big fish.
Do we expect to see any prosecutions linked to the loss of Sh5 billion at the Health Ministry?
Yes. The matter is at an advanced stage of investigation and once concluded we will be forwarding our findings with recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
How do you intend to work with the newly formed Audit Committees at the County Governments in an effort to carry out prompt prosecutions?
Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
EACC does not prosecute. This is the function of the DPP. Our responsibility is to combat and prevent corruption and economic crime in Kenya through law enforcement, preventive measures, public education and promotion of standards and practices of integrity and ethics. EACC works closely with devolved units and provides technical support such as training for integrity assurance officers and corruption prevention committees to enhance their capacity to detect corruption.
What do you think if EACC was to suggest that those found guilty of corruption be subjected to the hangman’s noose?
The laws on corruption have defined penalties to be imposed on persons found guilty. It is our view that sometimes the sentences passed are too lenient and the courts have a role to play through deterrent sentences.
Why was the list of candidates who should be barred from elective posts not submitted to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in time?
Let me clarify that our list was forwarded to IEBC well before they cleared the candidates. We vetted over 16,000 aspirants seeking elective positions. A list of candidates who in our view did not meet the requirements of Chapter Six was generated and forwarded to the IEBC at their request. The list contained names of sitting Governors, Ward reps, Senators, Woman reps and Members of Parliament. The position of the Commission is that the candidates with integrity issues should be barred from running.
Why was the list of over 100 names forwarded to IEBC not submitted before the politicians were cleared?
Refer to above response.
What will EACC do if the electoral commission fails to take action on the 106 individuals whose names you have submitted?
Nathan Muthamia, Chuka
Let me reiterate what I said earlier that Kenyans have the ultimate power on this issue and they must exercise it with responsibility without passing the buck. You should reject these individuals as the electorate.
The Commission seems to be taking long before corruption cases are brought to court and even clearance of those seeking political office is delayed until it is overtaken by events. What’s your take on this?
I have answered this in a related question herein.
When will investigations at the Water Resources Management Authority be concluded?
Edward B, Eldoret
As I have indicated in a previous question, all cases are subjected to a process of collecting, compiling and analysing the evidence on whether it has established any offences or otherwise. When we complete this process, the files are forwarded to the DPP who evaluates the evidence and arrives at an independent decision. Ours is to follow up the matter to ensure that it is expedited to its logical conclusion.
What are the EACC’s reporting lines?
Our hotline numbers are: 0727285663 or 0733520641 or email to [email protected]
How far have you gone with investigations of alleged irregular procurement at Mosoriot Teachers College?
Kirwa Lagat, Nandi
The allegation touching on Mosoriot Teachers college is a matter under active investigation and shall be concluded in due course.