NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s top anti-corruption official said Wednesday he has resigned after his family business was mentioned as a company that did business with a ministry implicated in corruption.
Since its inception in 1997, all five heads of the country’s corruption watchdog have resigned or been forced out of office in what analysts say is a result of deeply entrenched corruption in the country.
Philip Kinisu said in a statement that it had become impractical to serve as Chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission because of negative deliberations in public about the dealings of his family’s company and the Ministry of Devolution and National Planning.
“I maintain that the company and I are innocent of the allegations that have been made. At the same time significant resources and attention are being expended by the state and public on deliberating these matters instead of fighting corruption,” Kinisu said.
A report by Parliament’s Legal and Justice Committee had recommended that the president form a tribunal to investigate him, Kinisu said. Police have not charged Kinisu.
Information about Kinisu family business transactions with the Ministry of Planning and Devolution were leaked to the media months after he was appointed ethics commission chairman after being vetted by parliament.
Kinisu, an accountant who rose to become CEO and then chairman of accounting firm PWC in the region, had taken up his appointment earlier this year with zeal; releasing statistics that made government officials cringe in denial such as government losing $3billion annually to corruption or a third of Kenya’s budget.
He then announced that all the staff at the EACC will be vetted. The commission has had very few convictions of the hundreds of cases they investigate.
Kinisu’s resignation is good for the ethics commission and the country, said Samuel Kimeu, executive director of the Kenyan chapter of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. “The job requires unquestioned integrity,” he said on a post on Twitter.
Kenya is among the most corrupt countries in the world and was ranked 139 out of 167 countries in an index by Transparency International.