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November 14, 2018

Chumo vetting sends wrong signal on graft war

The National Assembly Finance committee yesterday interviewed Dr Ben Chumo for the Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairman’s post.

Chumo was nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta to succeed Sarah Serem whose term expired last December. Before he could be vetted, he was hauled to court last Monday to face graft charges relating to procurement of faulty transformers for Sh4.5 billion by Kenya Power. Yesterday, he absolved himself from the loss in proceedings that were clearly prejudicial to the court case.

Chumo’s nomination, and purported vetting yesterday, raise fundamental questions. First, should his nomination have stood in view of charges he faces? Given that all public officials charged with graft have been stepped down, or replaced, why is Chumo an exception? It begs the questions whether he was vetted by Intelligence and the President sufficiently briefed before his name was submitted to head the critical commission.

The presumption of innocence notwithstanding, his vetting flies in the face of the proclaimed zero-tolerance to corruption and the precedent set so far.

Chumo should have the moral compunction to decline the nomination until he is cleared. Moreover, it was morally bankrupt of MPs to sit in court over a matter so straightforward as this and thereby earn allowances. It is inconsistent and confusing.

 

Quote of the Day:

“No evil can result from its inhibition more pernicious than its toleration.”

 

Martin Van Buren

The eighth US President died on July 24, 1862.

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