From a shed that was used to recover/receive the lost items and stolen cattle to a church, disco club, bank and coincidentally, to a home of now five anti –corruption bodies-the ‘Integrity centre’. Malachi Motano takes a look of the intrigues, surrounding her history.
At one time when Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale (when he was still MP for Ikolomani) rose to speak in parliament, he had scathing allegations to make against one of the countries’ fastest growing and most innovative bank
“Mr. Speaker Sir, the current CEO of Equity bank, was the finance Manager at the collapsed Trade bank. This makes me fear that Dr. James Mwangi may sink the bank the same way they sunk Trade bank”
So, what is Integrity centre all about?
Boaz Owino is the Principal of Maranda high school.
“It is our school motto which reads, ‘Put on Integrity’. We ask our boys to put on integrity as it is the spear to character development. Like one time a Nokia advert, it is not one thing, it is many things.”
With the history dating back to 1930s according to records at the national archives, the sight in which the Integrity Centre structure stand was a shed used for recovering stolen cows, goats sheep and other lost items, during the colonial period. Communities from which the animals had be rustled would come to the cite to identify and receive back their livestock
Later in the 1940s and 50s, missionaries established auspices Church under the church of England on the grounds, which was doubling up as a school where subjects like modern farming methods, basic science, all matters of hygiene, home science and relevant topics were taught and the ambitious African graduates were promoted to the ‘Bush schools’. The missionaries were particularly concerned with what they deemed as retrogressive practices for example the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Does the current site of the beautiful building have a case as cradle of early formal school in Kenya?
According to John Mreria at the Kenya National Archive, the 1960s, and 70s, saw the emergence of glamour into Kenyan Society, the establishment of a night club called ‘Starlight’ owned by Robbie Armstrong which was a sophisticated joint haunted by local elite precursors of today’s yuppies. The premier entertainment venue to enjoy dancing, music, and consumption of all types of drinks and beverages.
“The 1980s, I mean 1984 to be precise saw the incorporation of the now infamous Trade bank which might have been the first bank ever to offer interest earning current accounts. The bank was like one of the most brilliant ideas in the Kenya’s banking industry during that time, and was a brainchild of an Israeli Businessman Alnoor Kassam who today lives in Canada with his brother Iqbal Kassam. The bank was later acquired in 1990 by an Entrepreneur, who was later sought by Interpol to face criminal charges in Kenya.”
The building has since then housed a succession of anti-corruption bodies.
As a point of interest, Kenya’s anti-corruption legislation actually dates back to 1956 with the enactment of the now defunct Prevention of Corruption Act (cap 75, LOK).
The present Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), is by no means just a new kid on the block. There has been a succession of such bodies starting with the establishment of the anti-corruption squad with the police in 1993, which was disbanded two years later.
The disbandment led to the creation of Kenya Anti-corruption Authority (KACA) in 1997, established under the Anti-Corruption Prevention Act cap 65 with Hon. Harun Mwau as the first Director. A Tribunal later declared him as incompetent in 1998 and Justice Aaron Ringera was appointed in 1999.
KACA was dissolved in 2000 after a court ruling. The Anti-Corruption Police Unit (ACPU) was then created by an executive order in 2001. ACPU which operated under criminal investigation department in the police force took over KACA’s mantle in September 2001 until the creation of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), a public body established under the anti-corruption and economic crimes act 2003 as the main agency with statutory mandate to fight corruption in Kenya.
The commission was established on May 2, 2003 when the anti-corruption and economic crimes act came into force. Today, transformation within the building has continued with KACC becoming Ethics and Economic Crimes Commission (EACC).
As the fight against corruption continues to haunt EACC, the Integrity Centre, the building that houses the commission also continues to haunt it. Kenyans today consider the commission toothless and a waste of public funds. When the location was being used as an auction site, the irony that in later years it would be used for fighting corruption could perhaps be ‘haunting’ it’s service delivery.