The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has vehemently opposed a bill sponsored by Mbeere North lawmaker Geoffrey Ruku which seeks to repeal crucial provisions of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.
It is this legislation that governs the investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption and economic crimes.
In particular, the Bill seeks to amend section 45(2) of the Act by deleting the two offences prescribed in Section 45(2)(b) and (c) namely the “failure to follow procurement guidelines” and “engaging in a public project without prior planning.”
In opposing the Bill, EACC says the sections sought to be deleted form the bedrock of corruption investigations which lead to either criminal prosecution of offenders and/or recovery of public funds looted through procurement flaws.
If enacted into law, the anti-graft body says the Bill will deal a major blow to the ongoing efforts to tame procurement related corruption in both national and county governments where theft of public funds through skewed procurement processes, conflict of interest, tender fraud and award of contracts to unqualified persons are prevalent.
According to Mbeere North MP, the issues sought to be de-criminalized are mere administrative flaws that can be adequately handled through administrative mechanisms instead of criminal prosecution.
EACC, civil society and other stakeholders have unequivocally opposed the Bill terming it a dangerous proposal aimed at creating legal escape routes for perpetrators of corruption scandals through procurement fraud.