Governor Kananu suffers setback as EACC rejects deputy nominee

Paul Mutunga Mutungi, Nairobi County Chief of Staff. Photo courtesy

By: Yvonne Atieno  @MountKenyaTimes

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has objected to the nomination of Paul Mutunga Mutungi as Governor Anne Kananu’s deputy.

EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak in a letter to Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura dated November 29 cited a 2019 money laundering case Mutunga was involved in.

Mbarak in the letter copied to Governor Anne Kananu and Nairobi County Assembly clerk Adah Onyango noted that the assembly was considering Mutunga’s nomination without any reference to the commission regarding his integrity suitability pursuant to Chapter six of the Constitution.

“It has come to our attention of the Commission that the County Assembly is considering the nomination of Paul Mutunga Mutungi to the position of Deputy Governor. The commission wishes to bring to your attention that the nominee was charged in Milimani Anti- Court, file number ACC8/2019 with corruption offences committed in Nairobi County Government,” reads the letter.

The EACC also highlighted that Mutunga was facing other charges including Unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to Section 45 (1)(a) as read under section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act no.3 of 2003.

“The offences committed include money laundering contrary to Section 3 as read with Section 16(1)(a) of the proceeds of crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2009, and Conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption contrary to Section 47A(3) as read with section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act No.3 of 2003,” he said.

Mutunga is also said to face charges dealing with suspect property contrary to Section 47 (2) (a) as read with sections 47 (1) and 48 (1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act No.3 of 2003

The letter came barely a week after Mutunga’s name was accepted by 89 Members of the County Assembly after a vetting exercise led by a 10-member select committee on appointments, which was chaired by Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura.

The commission asked the County Assembly and Nairobi Deputy Governor Anne Kananu to reconsider the nomination and select a different candidate who would “uphold high standards of integrity and ethical conduct while discharging public duty”.

“In view of the above, the commission objects to the nomination of Mutunga as the Deputy Governor, and advises the Assembly and Governor to reconsider the nomination,” Mbarak said.

A day after she was sworn in as Nairobi governor on November, 16 2021, Kananu

Governor Anne Kananu, on November 17, nominated Paul Mutunga, to serve as her Deputy Governor a day after she was sworn in as City Hall boss.

On November 26, a day after 89 Nairobi MCAs approved his nomination. Eighty-nine (89), the High Court issued a temporary order stopping Mutunga’s swearing-in after activist Okiya Omtata filed a petition challenging his eligibility.

Omtata argued that the nomination, vetting and approval of Mutunga was a nullity because it was done without him seeking clearance from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The petitioner also argued that Mutunga, being a person facing active criminal charges in the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court, was ineligible for appointment as Deputy Governor.

Mutunga, however, told the select committee on appointments that he has never been charged in court, nor has he ever received any bribe, but said there was an active alleged graft case in court.

“On the issue of alleged corruption, the matter is in court and allow me not to mention anything that will interfere with the process, but I have never been charged,” he added.

Political journey

Mutunga joined Nairobi politics in 1997 when he was elected as Councilor for Mbotela Ward.

In the 2002 General Election, he was re-elected as Councilor, where he served for another five years.

Between 2007 -2012, Mutunga was a Nominated Councilor under the Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket.

Before devolution in 2013, Mutunga was the longest-serving chairman of the Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee.

The former Councilor went on record having initiated the Budget reading by the chairperson of the Budget Committee Countrywide highlighting achievements in the past year.

This has normally been a norm carried up-to-date whereby during the budget reading at the county assembly, the chairperson highlights the achievements before the CEC for Finance reads the budget.

Politically, Mutunga is said to have been on the forefront and negotiated the then city council of Nairobi out of a stalemate between Party of National Unity and Orange Democratic Movement when there was a tie of votes for the mayor seat.

An indication that he, the former Mbotela Councilor played a key part in securing Majiwa’s first win as mayor in 2009.

This was a time he tied votes with PNU candidate Njoroge Chege with each getting 42 votes.

Together with former Mayor and current Makadara MP George Aladwa, Mutunga struck the power-sharing deal that led to Majiwa’ swearing-in .

In 2017, Mutunga was Embakasi South MP aspirant under Jubilee Party but lost to Wiper’s Julius Mawathe.

Last year, Mutunga made a comeback at City hall where he was appointed as the Director Liquor Board, Nairobi County.

Early this year, when County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura was Acting Governor, he appointed Mutunga as the Chief of Staff.

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