Kenya approves new anti-corruption chief


Kenya’s parliament approved the appointment of a new anti-graft chief after months of the position being vacant, amid fresh claims of corruption in government.

Lawyer Mumo Matemu will head the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which has had no leader since it replaced the disbanded Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) last September.

Lawmakers voted to accept Matemu and his two deputies after they were nominated by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga last December, Reuters reports.

The anti-corruption body was in danger of losing many investigators and other workers because it had no boss to renew staff contracts that were about to expire.

Matemu’s appointment came amid a corruption scandal involving the state medical insurance fund. Earlier this week, the chairman of a powerful parliament committee demanded Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o resign over payments by the fund to “phantom” hospitals. Nyong’o has denied any wrongdoing.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission replaced the KACC under a new constitution enacted in 2010.

Political analysts said the disbandment of the KACC – which was headed by Patrick Lumumba – without appointing a chief of the new body, exposed a lack of political will to fight corruption, which pervades public and private sectors.

Some ministers have stepped down following accusations of corruption, only to be reinstated to the cabinet months later after being cleared of wrongdoing.