The anti-graft agency has let off the hook another batch of high-profile officials in the ongoing corruption probe — for lack of evidence.
Suspended Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and suspended Agriculture CS Felix Koskei were cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in its latest recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.
The DPP yesterday reported the EACC decisions in a statement to newsrooms. Chirchir and Sonko, who had stepped aside, had been linked to a Sh46.14 billion tender scam at the Kenya Pipeline Company. “EACC recommends the files be closed for lack of evidence,” Tobiko said.
“The files shall be independently reviewed and a decision thereon made shortly.” The decision comes as a relief to the leaders whose careers were on the line, although Chirchir is still being investigated in connection with the Sh50 million “Chickengate” electoral printing contract scam.
Suspended Agriculture CS Felix Koskei was cleared over illegal allocation of permits sugar imports, signaling that he too could soon have a clean slate. The evidence was insufficient. Koskei had earlier been cleared over illegal cultivation of a 100-acre piece of government land. Also cleared by the EACC because of insufficient evidence are Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and his two officers — Lenku Seki Kanar and Charles Gitau Ngugi.
Tunai was accused of nepotism in hiring, violating procurement procedures and mismanagement of county resources. Suspended Transport CS Michael Kamau, already charged in a separate case with abuse of office, got a reprieve after one of the accusations against him was dropped.
It involved illegal contracting of a Chinese firm to handle most of the clearing and forwarding of imported cargo through the Port of Mombasa for 14 years.
THE EACC said there was no evidence linking the CS to the irregular contract award to Landmark Clearing and Forwarding Company for imported cargo passing through the Port of Mombasa. However, the anti-graft watchdog recommended Alex Kyalo Mutuku, the Makueni Supply Chain manager, be charged for usingfunds exceeding the approved budget.
Yesterday, Tobiko also confronted allegations that his office and the EACC were sabotaging the graft war to extort bribes. Tobiko said in the same statement to newsrooms that he makes decisions based on evidence, facts and the law. “My decisions are made without regard to political, ethnic or other external considerations,” he said.
“As the DPP/ODPP, our fidelity is and shall remain to the constitution and the law,.” National Assembly Leader of the Majority Aden Duale, a key figure in the Jubilee administration, is among lawmakers who have alleged the two offices are compromised and far from independent.
“We are disappointed with independent institutions dealing with the war against corruption. The war on corruption is far from being won because even some of these bodies do not meet the integrity threshold themselves. Some people in EACC and DPP are using these cases to extort,” Duale said on Thursday.
Tobiko said his office continues to be “most transparent” and consistently briefs the public every time he receives files from EACC. So far, the DPP has received 28 files and recommended prosecution of 74 national and county figures. This means the probe of the 175 figures on the List of Shame is unlikely to end anytime soon.