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Thursday, September 3, 2009

US on Ringera

The American Government has expressed displeasure with the re-appointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC).

United States Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said on Thursday that his government was deeply concerned about the unilateral reappointment of Ringera.

"The reappointment, and the manner in which it was done, raise profoundly troubling questions, particularly given the poor record of performance of the KACC over the past five years" said Renneberger in statement.

He said the re-appointment of the anti-graft boss showed lack of government's commitment to end the culture of impunity through decisive steps to fight corruption and to implement key reforms.

He added "The very negative public reaction to the reappointment shows how little confidence the Kenyan people have in the KACC".

He said the US was concerned that the reappointment was apparently made without proper consultation noting that the KACC Advisory Board has the responsibility to make recommendations for candidates for Director and Assistant Directors to the Parliament.

"The board is the one which vets and approves those candidates, and sends the names of approved candidates to the President for him to appoint" the ambassador noted.

He urged the government to re-examine Justice Ringera's reappointment in accordance with appropriate procedures and through a process of broad consultation.

The envoy reiterated United States support to the country's fundamental reforms as agreed in the National Accord of 2008.

KACC board

Meanwhile, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission advisory board chairman Okong'o Omogeni has come out strongly to defend the board against allegations that it held a secret meeting with Ringera on Wednesday.

Omogeni says there was nothing sinister about the lunch meeting held at a city hotel saying that they were just keeping with the tradition of sharing a meal with the director after a board meeting.

The chairman and some members of the board were caught on camera at a city hotel but left in a haste when they saw journalists.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday Omogeni accused the media of misleading the public.

The Wednesday lunch meeting came shortly after the board held a press conference where they resolved that Justice Ringera and his assistants Fatuma Sichale and Smokin Wanjala would continue to serve until the controversy surrounding their reappointment is resolved.

On Tuesday, Omogeni termed the re-appointments as illegal. The board has written to President Mwai Kibaki seeking audience with him to discuss the matter.

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