Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata has accused Kenya’s anti-corruption watchdog of being used to settle political scores.
This is after it emerged that the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) had launched a probe into his law firm over dealings with the Nairobi County government.
The Murang’a Senator’s law firm is among 25 companies being investigated by EACC over multi-million dealings in payment of legal fees between 2013 and 2020.
In a letter addressed to the Nairobi County Secretary, EACC wants City Hall to furnish it with specific case files handled by the 25 law firms for the last seven years, including details of the cases, letters of instructions and contract agreement.
“The commission is undertaking investigations at the Nairobi City County in respect of payments of legal fees to the following firms,” the letter dated January 21, 2021 reads.
“To facilitate our investigations, kindly but urgently furnish us with the original documents in respect to the mentioned firms.”
But Kang’ata read malice in the probe, accusing the Commission of being used to target politicians who have rubbed top government officials the wrong way.
He seemed to refer to his recent letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta on “unpopularity” of his pet project, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), in the Mount Kenya region, that sparked an angry reaction from leaders allied to the President and his handshake partner Raila Odinga.
“Criminal justice systems, including EACC, should not be used to manage politics. Persuasion and free expression of thoughts should reign supreme. A messenger, however, erroneous information he brings, should never be harassed, ” he tweeted on Saturday night.
Criminal justice systems, including EACC,should not be used to manage politics.Persuasion and free expression of thoughts should reign supreme.A messenger, however erroneous information he brings, should never be harassed.
— Irungu Kang'ata (@HonKangata) January 23, 2021
In an interview with Nation, Kang’ata noted that he had done nothing illegal warranting the investigations.
Kang’ata said he worked for City Hall in 2018 and got paid.
“I got paid and everything ended well. These investigations are nothing but politics. I have been in public service as a councillor, MP and senator and these are the first investigations that I am facing,” he said.
The soft-spoken Senator, however, said he will face his political “persecutors” head-on.
“I am a lawyer and ready to shake them off … I have all the documents to show my singular payment from City Hall was legal and legitimate. It’s not a coincidence that the investigation is being done three years after the payment, ” he said.
Kang’ata said EACC should go for corrupt governors and government officials accused of embezzling Covid-19 funds.
He noted that the only reason the individuals have not been targeted by EACC detectives is because they are supporting BBI.
“They have not even recorded statements. But EACC is now after me on baseless allegations, coincidentally, after I spoke my mind. They should arrest all Mt Kenya residents who share my view. I knew the risks when I decided to speak the truth,” added.
Other law firms under probe include one owned by Makueni Member of Parliament Dan Maanzo, Osundwa and Co. Advocates, Kwanga Mboya and Co. Advocates, Kithi and Co. Advocates, Wanjiku Maina and Co. Advocates, E.Onyango and Co. Advocates, J.O Magolo and Co. Advocates, Ario Advocates, Maskam ( Asanyo), E.N Omoti and Co. Advocates and Ogeto Ottachi and Co. Advocates.
Others are Musyoka Mogaka and Co. Advocates, Masire Mogusu and Co. Advocates, Miller Co. Advocates, Koceyo Co. Advocates, R.M Wafula Co. Advocates, Mbaluka Co. Advocates, Njenga Maina Co. Advocates, Kandie Murtai Co. Advocates and Sirma Co. Advocates, Arati Co. Advocates, C.M Mitema Co. Advocates, Munyasia Co. Advocates and Ongicho Ongicho Co. Advocates.
Millions paid to law firms under ousted Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s leadership took centre stage during the former governor’s impeachment proceedings in the Senate in December last year.
During Sonko’s cross-examination, Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru, who represented the Nairobi County Assembly, demanded an explanation why more than Sh100 million was paid to three law firms on personal legal services.
“I want you to confirm that all this money was paid on the same day. Can you confirm that?” Ngegwa posed, in which Sonko responded: “It was paid on the same day and there is no big deal in paying them their money on the same day.”