Tuesday, September 22, 2009



Board advertises Ringera’s Sh2.5m job

By David Ochami and Maseme Machuka

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board will on Wednesday advertise the embattled Justice Aaron Ringera job, further complicating the controversy that has put President Kibaki in a spot.

The move will now put the President on a collision course with the board for his decision to ignore it and bypass Parliament in renewing Ringera’s contract and that of two assistant directors.

The board, chaired by Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chairman Okong’o O’Mogeni, meets this morning to approve a public advertisement for the top job.

This will turn up the pressure on President Kibaki who was last week humiliated by Parliament for unilaterally renewing Ringera’s term and that of assistant directors Fatuma Sichale and Smokin Wanjala. Parliament nullified the President’s gazette notice reappointing the three after finding that the President acted against the law.

Dr Wanjala resigned on Friday following mounting pressure that the three relinquish their positions following the nullification of the Kenya Gazette notice.

Sources familiar with the plans being made to advertise the position say the future KACC director will take home Sh900,000 less than Ringera’s hefty perks that total Sh2.5 million monthly.

Remuneration for the deputy directors, presently grossed at Sh1.7m a month will be similarly reviewed downwards, although the scale of the pay-cut could not be immediately confirmed.

The qualification for the director’s position and the two assistants include legal training and experience in public law and high moral integrity, among others.

The advertisement for the job tomorrow(Wednesday) will further put President Kibaki in an awkward position because the board will shortlist names and forward them to Parliament for vetting before they are passed on to the President for appointment. This would be happening against the backdrop of the Executive insisting Ringera is legally in office.

The KACC board has rejected Ringera’s reappointment but indicated he could stay as director for three months pending formal replacement.

The board’s move to advertise the position would also be coming only three days after the House Committee on Implementation put President Kibaki on notice over Ringera. The committee’s chairman Jamleck Kamau said the President has 60 days to revoke the appointments or face Parliament’s wrath.

Advert drawn

Members of Parliament have warned that if the Executive refuses to yield on Ringera, the Legislature would starve KACC of funds from this year’s budget or move a Motion to disband the anti-graft outfit altogether.

According to two members of the KACC Advisory Board who cannot be named because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of the board, a sub-committee has drawn the advertisement proposing salary cuts for the KACC director and two deputy directors.

"A sub-committee has worked on the advertisement which we hope to adopt tomorrow and publish on Wednesday (tomorrow)."

Ringera returned to Kenya from Kazakhstan in Central Asia, on Sunday evening and allegedly went to State House for meetings amid growing calls that he resigns.

But yesterday, Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa and the Justice ministers threw their weight behind Ringera.

Wekesa told Ringera to "remain in office and continue with his job."

On his part, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said: "As far as I am concerned, Ringera is still in office as per the law which is very clear on his reappointment".

Respect institutions

He added: "I respect the procedure of Parliament but the Kenya Anti-corruption Act is very clear on this issue".

Dr Wekesa added: "We must respect institutions. Ringera must remain in office and continue with his job until courts determine if the President broke the law (to reappoint him).

The minister was referring to two cases filed at the High Court challenging the reappointments.

Mutula said President Kibaki acted within the law in reappointing Ringera. The minister would not however be drawn into discussing the threats by Parliament to hold back funding for KACC.

The minister was speaking to the Press at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha after opening a three-day induction workshop for members of Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee chairman Abdikadir Mohamed argues that the director "has no legal basis for remaining in office" for lack of an appointment letter from the KACC board and last week’s annulment of the Kenya Gazette notice that reappointed him.

Wait no longer

In Garissa nominated MP Sofia Abdi Nur asked Ringera to "resign because as Kenyans we do not have faith in him."

Elsewhere, retired Catholic Archbishop John Njenga praised Parliament for playing its role to ensure the rule of law is upheld.

He said time was ripe for legislature to "take charge and censure the excesses of the Executive".

Speaking at St Mulumba Catholic church in Makongeni, Thika, on Sunday, the retired cleric lamented that politicians were forming alliances with selfish motives.

And a section of MPs from Central Province have also called on Ringerato resign.

MPs Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri), Peter Gitau (Mwea) and their Ol-Kalou counterpart Erastus Mureithi said Ringera should step aside to spare the President further embarrassment.

They said since his credibility had been questioned it would be difficult for him to carry out his duties effectively.