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The relatively young nation of Kenya has experienced a tumultuous history in the fight against graft.

The country’s anti-corruption legislation dates back to 1956 with the enactment of the now defunct Prevention of Corruption Act (formerly Cap. 65, LOK). This statute was in operation from August 1956 to May 2003. 

Initially, the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap. 65) was enforced by the Police Department, notably the Anti-Corruption Squad constituted in 1993. The Squad was however disbanded in 1995 before it could make any significant impact. 

History of KACA

Amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap 65, LOK) in early 1997 led to the creation of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA) in 1997, whose first director was John Harun Mwau. He was appointed Director in December 1997.

FIGURE 1: Current Kilome MP and first Director of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA), John Harun Mwau

After only six months in office, Mwau was suspended and later removed in 1998 through a Judicial Tribunal appointed by the then President Daniel T. arap Moi. Justice Aaron G. Ringera was appointed to replace him in March 1999.

FIGURE 2: Second Director of the defunct KACA (and later the first Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Director/Chief Executive) Justice (Rtd) Aaron G. Ringera

On December 22, 2000, the High Court in the case of Gachiengo V Republic (2000) 1 EA 52(CAK) made a ruling that the existence of KACA undermined the powers conferred on both the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police by the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. 

In addition, the High Court further held that the statutory provisions establishing the Authority were in conflict with the Constitution. That spelt the death of KACA and the various efforts in the fight against corruption in Kenya.

Enter the ACPU

The Anti-Corruption Police Unit (ACPU) was created by Executive Order in August 2001. ACPU, which operated under the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police took over KACA’s mantle in September 2001 and performed this function until creation of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC).

KACC was a public body established under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) No. 3 of 2003 on 2nd May 2003.


April 2003 saw Parliament enact two pieces of legislation. These were:

  1. The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) No. 3 of 2003
  2. The Public Officer Ethics Act, No 4 of 2003.

These two legislations became operational on 2nd May 2003. Section 70 of the (ACECA) repealed the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap. 65). 

The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act established the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) as a body corporate, prescribing its composition and conferring powers and functions to it. 

The Act also established the Kenya Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, an unincorporated body comprising persons nominated by a cross-section of stakeholders. The Advisory Board made recommendations for appointment of a Director and Assistant Directors. It also advised the Commission generally on the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under the Act.

The first Director, Justice (Rtd.) Aaron G. Ringera, and three Assistant Directors, viz. Ms. Fatuma Sichale (Deputy Director and Legal Services), Dr. John P. Mutonyi (Investigations and Asset Tracing), and Dr. Smokin Wanjala (Preventive Services), formally took office on 10th September 2004. Mr. Wilson Shollei would later fill the vacant seat of Assistant Director Finance and Administration.

Following parliamentary pressure in July 2009, Justice Ringera was forced to resign from office together with Ms. Sichale and Dr. Wanjala, paving way for appointment of Prof. P.L.O. Lumumba to take office in September 2010. Prof. Jane Onsongo (Preventive Services) and Mr. Pravin Bowry (Legal Services) joined the existing team of Dr. Mutonyi and Wilson Shollei as KACC assistant directors.

FIGURE 3: Second KACC Director/Chief Executive Prof. PLO Lumumba


The country’s Parliament disbanded KACC on 24th August 2011, in line with the requirements for change as stipulated in the new Constitutional dispensation. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was established after Kenya’s President Hon. Mwai Kibaki signed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act on 29th August 2011.

The EACC was established on 5th September 2011 and Commissioners Irene Keino (Ms.) and Prof. Jane K. Onsongo (Mrs.) appointed on 11th May 2012.


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