Giving EACC teeth, Bill proposes major changes in the anti-graft agency
Published on: November 16, 2018 12:17 (EAT)
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is in the process of recruiting the man or woman who will succeed Halakhe Waqo who is exiting. But even before shortlisted candidates sit for interviews, Homa Bay Member of Parliament Peter Kaluma is proposing a legislation that could cut down the powers of chief executive officer. An amendment to the EACC Act in 2015 gave the CEO full authority over operational matters besides making commissioners work on a part-time basis which the MP terms as a miscalculation that must be reversed. The legislator is proposing several changes to the EACC Act to give the institution more powers to stem corruption in government institutions. If the proposed Bill is passed, the EACC will only handle serious corruption and economic crimes cases. “…We have allowed the executive to take charge of the fight against corruption with agencies under the executive and I am saying that defeats the idea that we established the commission to deal with and it defeats the fight against corruption,” said MP Kaluma. Kaluma wants EACC streamlined to turn it into an agency that focuses on complex corruption and economic crimes cases just like UK’s serious fraud office. According to Kaluma, this will make EACC more efficient. “…So that we fight corruption…we make a distinction… General corruption like bribery by the police,those ones the DCI and DPP can handle them.But where we have serious corruption and I have defined serious corruption as cases that are causing the nation lots of losses, or new species of corruption like those in the counties which needs precedence to be set….those ones I am saying EACC must investigate…,” said Kaluma. Under section 7 of the EACC Act, the commission is mandated to investigate corruption, prevent graft, and advise public institutions on how to fight corruption. Educate the public, enlist public support in fighting corruption and economic crime and recover ill-gotten wealth. Kaluma wants this cut down so that EACC focuses on the big fish in the corruption pond. President Uhuru Kenyatta has intensified the fight against corruption but the Homa Bay legislator says if the President is to win the war against graft, EACC must be empowered. He is proposing that EACC be accorded prosecutorial powers for serious corruption and economic crime cases. “…That way, you will have specialized prosecution not investigation undertaken by EACC being subjected to general prosecution…But I am also saying, it will also ensure all cases which merit prosecution reach the courts,” said Kaluma.