Twalib Mbarak swore to rid the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) of all procedural technicalities standing in the way of the anti-graft war during his swearing-in as its chief executive on Monday.
The EACC secretary/CEO said he will also work closely with the other players in the justice system to ensure graft cases are property investigated and prosecuted so criminals are punished.
Mr Mbarak made several promises in his address after he was sworn-in by Supreme Court President and Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi
He began by saying he will “faithfully and impartially execute the functions of the office without fear, favour, or ill-will”, a reflection of what he said during his vetting in December last year.
Regarding corruption, the new CEO noted that those involved in it thrive on volatility but that he envisions a country that is a “hostile environment for corrupt individuals”.
“They exploit [volatility] for personal gain. I am committed to making corruption a high-risk venture in our beloved country. Kenya will be an inhospitable place for corrupt individuals,” he said.
“I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from both the law enforcement and corporate background. However, I will need the support of all stakeholders, particularly the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Media sector and citizens in general,” he added.
Regarding what his administration will focus on, Mr Mbarak said the following:
i) Law enforcement: I intend to effectively use the resources available to tackle impactful investigations. I will conduct a comprehensive audit of cases with a view to prioritize investigations based on factors such as the value of the subject matter, personalities involved and public interest.
In addition, there is need to ensure expeditious completion of investigations. I intend to review the processes and unblock any procedural bottlenecks that prevent us from working effectively.
I am aware that corruption is becoming increasingly multijurisdictional and complex, so strengthening and deepening relationships that will facilitate the investigative process will be a major focus for me.
I also aim to build our intelligence capabilities and undercover operations in order to use information not only for reactive purposes but to improve knowledge on emerging threats and to identify proactive investigative lines.
ii) Asset recovery: As you are aware, financial gain is often the motive for corruption. In many cases, the corrupt will fight harder to protect their ill-gotten wealth from confiscation than they would do to avoid imprisonment.
I intend to improve the capacity of the asset recovery function of the commission and to leverage on the skills in the multi-agency team. Once the gain is seized from the corrupt individuals the deterrence effect is monumental.
iii) Public awareness/education: For so many years, corrupt individuals have denied us an opportunity to live up to the promise and dreams of our founding fathers and mothers. This has resulted to public apathy towards anti-corruption initiatives and activities.
The chief executive promised the public that he will continue raising awareness on the dangers of corruption.
He asked for their support through the media, noting corruption has caused them to suffer poverty.
The people and groups Mr Mbarak hopes to have good working relationships include EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala, whom he thanked for “sober stewardship” during the transition.
Mr Mbarak, who takes over from Halakhe Waqo, also thanked commissioners, the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, the public and the media for the roles they played.
“My strategic approach will be proactive and this means working closely with all sectors of our society, most importantly the citizens,” he said.
“I look forward to joining forces with the chairman, commissioners, the EACC family and the entire criminal justice system so that our collective efforts result in a society that upholds integrity and the rule of law.”
CJ Maraga reiterated the need for the office of the director of public prosecutions and investigators to present well investigated cases to the courts to increase conviction rates.
He said the Judiciary will not take the blame for delays in handling graft cases and the acquittals of the accused.
“If you bring a hopeless case, we will say in our judgment why we are dismissing it so the public knows where to place the blame,” he said.
The noted that Kenyans are tired of corruption hence the need for convictions to increase their confidence in the justice system.
Guests at the ceremony included Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki, Mr Waqo, DPP Noordin Haji, DCI boss George Kinoti, Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto and Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi.