Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was supposed to be the savior we turn to when all else fails. As the anti-graft body, it’s the institution that we hoped could bring sanity in all the three arms of government in matters corruption, especially after the underwhelming performance of the 11th Parliament and the judiciary’s reputation hanging in the balance with all the controversy surrounding the highest court in the land.
Since its conception under the previous Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), the outfit has done little to inspire confidence. To begin with, the Goldenberg scandal saw the country lose about USD 600million (about 10% of the country’s annual GDP at the time). Kamlesh Pattni, the alleged master mind was cleared eventually and later acquired certificate of good conduct to run as a Member of Parliament.
A few years later, Kenya further lost an estimated USD 30million from the Anglo Leasing scandal and the alleged responsible officers stepped aside only to be reinstated. Some of the alleged key perpetrators walked free because of “lack of evidence”.
Recently, the country once again lost an estimated Kshs. 1.6 billion in the National Youth Service (NYS) saga which saw the resignation of Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Devolution due to mounting public pressure.
However, the EACC having concluded their investigations cleared the CS, only to issue a statement a month later that they are opening fresh investigations after new details emerged in the form of a 27 page affidavit implicating the former CS. The important question is, wasn’t that what they should have done prior to clearing her? How did their investigations miss the author of this affidavit, yet she’s involved through and through by her own admission?
One therefore wonders whether this is the work of a bungled up cover up or the case is too complex for the anti-corruption body to investigate clearly and consistently. And if it’s the latter then EACC is admitting sheer incompetence and that the commissioners perhaps need help.
In the same breadth, whether the Eurobond money was squandered or utilized is not clear. The opposition has cried foul but has not provided tangible evidence. But again, it is the responsibility of EACC and other relevant institutions to investigate these claims with an aim of shedding light where there’s a misunderstanding and to bring the culprits to book.
The question therefore remains? Is there any use in whistle blowing anymore? Who is not living up to their constitutional mandate? Are mega corruption scandals all about keeping Kenyans busy talking until their personal needs (read: hunger) become too much that they forget about it and only revisit when another similar scandal is revealed? EACC’s failure to act decisively and objectively only serves the lords of impunity.
Impunity not only mocks justice, it impresses upon the masses to disregard the law. It breeds chaos and fertile ground for vigilantes to emerge and thrive. Cartels exist where the law has too many loopholes to be exploited and where justice can be bought and investigations compromised.
We put our trust in the commissioners that they will investigate with the country’s interest in mind and bring to book the culprits. Yet, despite the many times the country expected EACC to step up to the challenge, they only dashed our hopes. Hopes of a better Kenya, hopes of a just Kenya. When will EACC live up to its name?
Perhaps it’s time to discuss openly, truthfully and without malice the relevance of the EACC with regard to its mandate. Should we focus the debate on the constitutional loop holes around the structure of the anti-graft body that interferes with its independence and therefore execution?
And while we seek answers about EACC, the eleventh Parliament continues to underwhelm. That the people charged with the mandate to draft laws in this country seem unperturbed by this trend is cause for worry.