STATE RENEWS BID TO BAR GRAFT SUSPECTS FROM HOLDING OFFICE

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A new law that could allow citizens to block graft suspects from holding public office has been tabled in Parliament. The law could open a floodgate as the August 9 vote beckons.

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2022 is tightening the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012 that MPs watered down, soon after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

The bill sponsored by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya provides that any person may move to the High Court to invalidate the appointment of, or bar from assuming office, persons with integrity questions.

“The High Court may upon application by any person, declare the assumption of office by a state officer to be invalid, for want of executing a commitment to the specific leadership and integrity code,” the bill reads.

State officers that the bill proposes include deputy president, governors, MPs, judges and holders of independent offices. The bill comes only days after a lobby group named 25 politicians, they believe should be barred from the forthcoming election on integrity grounds. The aspirants have been red-carded over the varied corruption and criminal cases they are facing in court.

Additionally, Anti-graft agencies maintained that such politicians are not fit to seek or hold public office.
Anti-graft agency bosses DPP Noordin Haji and EACC’s Twalib Mbarak decried loopholes in the law, which have enabled persons with questionable integrity assume office.

Apart from changes to the LIA, the Statutes Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2022, seeks to amend a number of provisions aimed at bolstering the fight against graft. Among them is the proposal to expunge the law that shields some state officers from stepping aside when charged with corruption.

The government has asked Parliament to delete Section 62 (6) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 – a law that protects elected leaders and independent office holders from stepping aside when charged with graft.

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