The East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) MPs have blown the whistle over what they described as “fraudulent and irregular recruitment” of the Clerk and other officers of the Assembly.
The Council of Ministers on May 7, 2021 directed the EAC Secretariat to recruit 60 staff.
It further established a panel comprising one member from the secretariat and a representative from each partner state to conduct the interviews.
The MPs say the interviews for the clerk and deputy Clerk held on September 27 and 28 were “characterised by gross irregularities.”
A review of the scoresheet for the interview of the clerk revealed that the marks were “deliberately doctored” to reflect Mr Saidi Othman Yakubu, a UK-trained Tanzanian Attorney, as the better candidate.
Documents seen by ChimpReports show that the actual score for Alex Lumumba Obatre is 196 out of 245 representing 80 percent of the total marks while Yakubu obtained 188 out of 245, representing 76 percent.
“The variance in the scoring of candidates gives credence to the assertions of connivance/syndicate,” reads a petition by a section of EALA MPs to the regional ministers of East African Affairs.
EAC SG in the hot seat
The EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, a Kenyan national, is accused of convening a meeting of the panel that conducted interviews for the clerk to “revise downwards” the scores that were awarded to Alex Lumumba, the former EALA Deputy Clerk, so as to ensure that he does not get the passmark in the interview.
MPs say the “scheme is aimed at ensuring Yakubu emerges as the successful candidate for this position. We find this conduct unethical and fraudulent”
Efforts to reach Mathuku for comment did not bear fruit.
But we understand the explosive allegations come just days before the Council Meeting scheduled for October 11, 2021 to endorse the appointment of Clerk and Deputy Clerk.
Observers say the claims, if confirmed, threaten to undermine the spirit of comradeship in the EAC.
Politically, the Head of the Assembly is the Speaker, while the Clerk is in charge of its day to day administration.
The EALA is currently managed by a staff of 25 officers, headed by the Clerk.
Officials at EALA revealed that the shortlisting exercise was characterised by fraud and manipulations as eligible and qualified candidates from partner states were systematically left out while ineligible ones left on the shortlist.
They give the example of Osman Mohamed Adan from Kenya being the only candidate shortlisted for the position of Hansard Editor for EALA yet he has never worked with Parliament.
The Secretariat also is accused of deliberately refusing to furnish members of the interviewing panel with critical information such as “operational manual for the quota system, the shortlisting criteria and the status of distribution of quota points at EALA.”
Even when some members of the panel asked for this information, they were told that they were not entitled to it and that their “mandate was restricted to conducting interviews.”
According to the operational manual for the quota system, a partner state must have points for its citizens to be considered as eligible candidates.
The status of distribution of quota points for professional staff at EALA as at June 8, 2021, Kenya does not qualify for any professional position above Grade P2, yet candidates from Kenya were shortlisted for the position of Deputy Clerk which is Grade P4.
Tanzania has a balance of 6 which makes it ineligible for any professional position in EALA since the minimum points is 8.
Yet, a candidate from Tanzania was shortlisted for the position of clerk Grade 5 which carries 14 points.
MPs say this is “illegal and untenable.”
It is understood only Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are eligible for the positions of Clerk and Deputy Clerk and other positions.
Article 49 of the Treaty provides that the assembly shall recommend to the council the appointment of the clerk and other officers of the assembly.
Traditionally, the EAC Secretariat has always forwarded names of successful candidates to the EALA assembly for its endorsement before appointment by the Council.
This did not happen, compelling lawmakers to rise up in arms.
The MPs say the council’s decision also “contravened regulation 21 of the EAC staff rules and regulations” for the establishment and composition of the interview panel.
This investigative website has learned that a case has been lodged at the East African Court of Justice challenging the recruitment exercise.
The EAC is currently made up of six Partner States: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.