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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 17 May 2015

WHO WILL REPLACE MATEMU AT EACC?


The name of the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko has featured prominently as among those likely to succeed Mumo Matemu at Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Analysts say the way State House was involved in the removal of the commissioners clearly shows it had its own names on the list as preferred candidates. State House will influence activities from the advertisement of the jobs, interviews and recruitment period.
According to the constitution, a person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of the commission if that person-
(a) Meets the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution. (b) holds a degree from a University recognised in Kenya; (c) Has knowledge and experience of not less than 10 years in any of the following fields -  (i) Ethics and governance; (ii) Law; (iii) Public Administration; (iv) Leadership; (v) Economics; (vi) Social Studies; (vii) Audit; (viii) Accounting; (ix) Fraud Investigation; (x) Public Relations and Media; or (xi) Religious Studies or Philosophy; and (d) Has had a distinguished career in their respective field.
 The president is to constitute a selection panel to nominate.
Short list of the applicants and the names of the shortlisted applicants and the qualified applicants should be published in the print media. Interviews of the shortlisted persons must be in public.
The three qualified applicants for the position of chairperson plus that of four qualified applicants for the position of the members are shortlisted. The names of the qualified persons are forwarded to the president.
 The president shall, within 14 days of receipt of the names of successful applicants forward select chairperson and members of the commission to the national assembly for approval.
 The national assembly shall, within 21 days of the day of its next sitting after receipt of the names of the applicants vet and consider all the applicants, and may approve or reject any or all of them.
 Where the national assembly approves all the applicants, the speaker of the national assembly shall forward the names of the approved applicants to the president for appointment.  The president shall, within seven days of receipt of the approved applicants from the national assembly, by notice in the Gazette, appoint the chairperson and members approved by the national assembly.
As for Tobiko, his current office is more prominent, strategic and not politicised as EACC, hence if he decides to go for the position, it will be a downgrade in more than one way. It is imperative to note that Tobiko has the final word on who the EACC prosecutes or does not since the files are forwarded to him.
Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to involve Tobiko’s office and that of Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro to probe those in the list of shame was a clear indication he has trust in Tobiko, it is opined in certain quarters.
Sources say since Kenyans see an effective EACC as the tool to fight corruption and with Uhuru out to stem the vice likely to cause him his second term, an effective chairman who can fasttrack files without loose ends is needed. To avoid delay as it has been before, it is said, Tobiko is the man.
Reports have it EACC is set to be transformed via a bill being prepared to be presented to parliament to have an independent prosecution wing detached from the DPP office. Further, the corruption court will have a timeframe to finish and give verdict to graft cases. The cases are set to be heard concurrently without postponements as it is now, for it takes years to give a verdict.
Those fronting for Tobiko argue that as the DPP, he has prosecuted notable Kenyans without favour. The case of former powerful minister in Kibaki regime Amos Kimunya tops the list. Tobiko office is also credited with not sparing drug barons as before. Case in point being Baktash Akasha and his accomplices who face extradition to America.
Tobiko has also not spared Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria on matters relating to hate speech.
It is also emerging that it was pressure and efforts by the DPP’s office to tighten the files relating to Anglo-Leasing scam that led to the recent prosecution of the key players. The files are said to have loopholes that could not have sustained trial. Investigators at EACC are said to have been compromised by the suspects.
Already, the removal of Matemu and his deputy Irene Keino has been sealed. The matter first landed before parliament speaker Justin Muturi sanctioning the petition by lawyer Geoffrey Oriaro.
Initially, Uhuru’s legal advisers led by solicitor general Njee Muturi, Abdikadir Mohammed had prevailed upon the commissioners to step down with Jane Onsongo giving in. Keino stayed put but eventually upon the formation of a tribunal to investigate, she threw in the towel.
That Uhuru legal team was involved in the resignation clearly shows they want to have their own in charge at EAAC to help him duel graft which is badly tainting his government, more so   with the name of his deputy William Ruto featuring in almost every magnitude scam. Uhuru’s team is said to be well alive to the fact that it is insecurity and corruption that saw president Goodluck Jonathan lose to Mohammed Buhari in Nigeria.
However, it is said if Tobiko does not apply for the position, Uhuru handlers have a plan B. Various names are mentioned with even word that the solicitor general is out to occupy the Attorney General’s office and a powerful EACC where Githu will land will be formed. Njee, in the legal corridors, is referred to as the de facto AG. Abdikadir’s name is also mentioned but it is not known whether he can vacate his State House job just yet. The initial plan was to have Githu replace Chief Justice Willy Mutunga when he retires end of next year but it seems the gods are smiling favourably at Kiambu- born Court of Appeal Judge Paul Kihara.
Others say the EACC plot was aimed to have Njee land the AG’s slot as changes are made at the helm. If Githu refuses to play ball, Uhuru men want to use sections in the constitution to remove him. The scheme is to force Githu resign as he will find the position being cobbled for him smallish.
Apart from Tobiko, names of those being mentioned include lawyers with thick political links.
Top is Njoroge Regeru:  He was the lead lawyer for The National Alliance in challenging the inclusion of spoilt ballots in the calculation of votes attained by each presidential candidate in the March 4 2013 presidential elections.
He also represented former Director of Intelligence James Kanyotu in the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice Samuel Bosire.
Then we have Kioko Kilukumi. At one time he was nominated by then president Mwai Kibaki to be DPP. He was a defence lawyer in Ruto ICC case but was dropped.
 The big name of veteran lawyer Aurelio Rebello also features. He was in the team of lawyers that represented the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in the presidential election petition by Raila Odinga challenging Uhuru’s win. Many remember him for dismissing a rookie lawyer at the proceedings telling him to stop consulting the thesaurus every morning to aid his legal brawl tactics.
Katwa Kigen who is close to Ruto and Cecil Miller Junior who at one time had been named to chair the polls body are also mentioned. Miller is a sharp lawyer and whether he decides to go for the seat that has seen those who have occupied it regretting why they did so, is awaited to be seen.
It is said Uhuru team has approached two lawyers to be chairman but all have declined on grounds it is a cursed office.