The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has been given the authority to overstep the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) under Noordin Haji and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in the war against graft.
A ruling by the Supreme Court on Friday, May 8, stated that the EACC can now go after any individuals whose assets are not proportional to their legitimate sources of income.
"Unlike in criminal matters where various agencies are involved, forfeiture of unexplained assets are purely civil proceedings and EACC can move directly to court and prosecute the matters," the landmark ruling reads.From left: Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Twalib Mbarak, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) chief George Kinoti addressing a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday, March 5, 2020Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
The landmark ruling was made in a case filed against former National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation Finance Manager, Stanley Mommbo Amuti.
Amuti had requested the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision which had directed him to explain the source of his wealth.
That was after he had been served with a notice requiring him to provide a statement of his property as per Section 26 of Anti-corruption and Economic Crime Act (ACECA) 2003.
Upon investigations, the commission established that Amuti acquired assets estimated to be worth tens of millions. The assets were disproportionate to his known source of income.
Earlier before, the DCI had to investigate while the ODPP had to approve files before suspects were arrested and arraigned in court.
The ruling sets the precedence that while in criminal cases the prosecution bears the burden of proving wrongdoing, graft suspects will not bear the burden of proving that they obtained their assets legally.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak lauded the ruling while urging Parliament to fast track the Lifestyle Audit Bill 2019, which will enhance the fight against corruption.
"EACC will continue working with other law enforcement agencies to fast track all the pending cases that had been affected by the long protracted legal battle on the recovery of unexplained wealth," Mbarak stated.EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak after presenting a cheque to the Kenya Covid-19 Fund on April 28, 2020.
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