Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Philip Kinisu on Tuesday appeared resigned to his fate after a committee of MPs recommended his sacking.
Mr Kinisu said he was taking things “day by day”, after the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee asked MPs to sanction a tribunal to try and remove him from office for his company’s dealings with the National Youth Service.
“I have not read the report and cannot say anything about it. In the circumstances, you take things day by day,” said Mr Kinisu when contacted by the Daily Nation.
Earlier in the afternoon, the formal process of removing him from office was triggered after MPs recommended that President Uhuru Kenyatta form a tribunal to investigate him.
Mr Kinisu faces conflict of interest charges for his firm Esaki Ltd’s dealings with scandal-hit National Youth Service for which the firm was paid Sh35.4 million.
Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga, who is also the Ainabkoi MP, tabled the report recommending that Mr Kinisu face a tribunal, which will have 30 days to give its verdict. The committee agreed with a petition by Mr Albert Ondieki.
Should he be shown the door in the next one month, Mr Kinisu will be the shortest-serving chairman of the anti-graft agency yet, a hot position that now appears jinxed following a high turnover of former holders of the office, some swept aside by intrigues and forces fighting against corruption.
The former head of a leading audit firm, Mr Kinisu was seen as the perfect man to “slay the dragon of corruption” and was already settling into the role when the conflict of interest charges emerged, gravely denting his image.
Mr Kinisu has defended the business dealings of the firm from which he said he resigned as director, leaving its running to his wife and daughter.
However, his critics, including the parliamentary team, said that as the head of the investigative agency tasked with unearthing the scandal at NYS, he would not be the right man to lead such a process.
Apart from recommendations to form a tribunal, the committee of 29 members also resolved to have the President suspend the chairperson, pending the determination of the tribunal.
“Having considered provisions of Constitution on leadership and integrity of State officers and Parliamentary Standing Orders, the committee by majority reports to the House that the petition discloses grounds for removal of Mr Kinisu as chairperson of the EACC and resolves that the President appoints a tribunal to deal with the matter in accordance with Article 251 of the Constitution and suspends the chairperson here-in pending the determination of tribunal,” says the report.
The committee, however, appeared to have been divided on whether to recommend Mr Kinisu’s removal with eight MPs — mostly from Cord — opposing it, and only one Jubilee MP joining them.
The dissenting voices, according to the committee’s report, included Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch, Siaya woman representative Christine Ombaka, Hamisi MP Charles Gimose, Ndhiwa MP Aghostinho Neto, Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma and Rabai MP Kamoti Mwamkale.
Only Emurrua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng’eno of Jubilee appeared to have opposed the formation of a tribunal, going against majority of his colleagues, who have 18 members in the committee, with the 11 others being from the Opposition.
Although the committee recommended that President Kenyatta suspends Mr Kinisu to pave way for investigations, the President may chose not to suspend him, and have him investigated while in office, but he cannot ignore the decision of the MPs to form a tribunal, which will have final say on the matter.
Mr Kinisu’s predecessor Mumo Matemu, was also forced to resign rather than face a tribunal and had to leave with two other commissioners, including his vice chairperson, but in the current case, other commissioners have actually supported decision to remove their boss from office, a position that has also been gotten the backing of EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo.
Other former EACC bosses who have left the position under a cloud of controversy include renowned lawyer Patrick Lumumba, Justice Aaron Ringera and former Kilome MP Harun Mwau.