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EACC, DPP supremacy war deals blow to acquisition of office block

Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko

Supremacy wars between two state bodies have sabotaged the acquisition of an office block.

A parliamentary committee heard yesterday of ego battles between the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over the control of close to Sh2 billion set aside to buy a house to accommodate both agencies.

Consequently, the Justice and Legal Affairs committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga directed EACC to independently source its own house, including considering the compulsory acquisition of Integrity Centre, where they are currently housed.

Mr Chepkonga said the Office of the DPP, which is said to have expressed dissatisfaction because EACC was leading the process, would be allocated Sh1 billion to look for an office to house its staff.

“I realised the last meeting we had over the matter was getting complicated as the DPP’s office claimed seniority, arguing that it enjoyed more independence than EACC and should thus lead the process of buying the property. That is why I proposed that you go it alone; after all, the allocation is under your name,” said Chepkonga.

Halakhe Waqo, EACC’s chief executive officer, confirmed that the agency had since ended the joint venture as it was also difficult to find the space required to accommodate staff from the two offices.

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Mr Waqo told the committee that the initial plan to buy a six-floor office block from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) flopped after NSSF reviewed its pricing from Sh1.04 billion to Sh1.36 billion, frustrating further negotiations for the property.

Waqo said while they had bought five acres in Karen to put up their headquarters, they later found that establishing the office there would make it difficult for many of their clients to access them.

“The most realistic move was the acquisition of the NSSF property but we had to terminate the process as consultations were not bearing fruit. We now have to start the process afresh,” he said.

The proposal that the commission should consider compulsory acquisition of Integrity Centre split the committee members, with some cautioning that such a move could lead to litigation.

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