Attorney-General (AG) Kihara Kariuki and the anti-graft agency have dismissed claims by politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has no power to investigate corruption.
Appearing before the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Mr Kariuki said politicians accusing head of DCI George Kinoti of overreaching his authority have little understanding of the law.
The committee, chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, put to task the AG and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chief executive Twalib Mbarak to explain whether the corruption watchdog had ceded part of its mandate to the DCI.
"It's a provision of National Police Service Act, section 35, that DCI undertakes investigations on serious crimes, including money laundering. It also detects and prevents crime. There is, therefore, a misunderstanding because of inadequate knowledge on the law," Mr Kihara said.
Section 35 of the National Police Service Act charges DCI with, among others, undertaking investigations on serious crimes including homicide, narcotic crimes, human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, and collecting and providing criminal intelligence.
The law says the DCI is also to execute directions given to the Inspector-General by the Director of Public Prosecutions and perform any other function conferred by other written laws.
By nature of their complementary work, Mr Mbarak said the two agencies cooperate and share matters when necessary.
"Economic crime is part of crime which DCI is mandated to investigate," he told the committee.
The Cheptumo-led team wanted Mr Kihara and Mr Mbarak to explain whether the mandate to investigate corruption lies only with the EACC in wake of accusations of bias in the DCI fight against graft.
Mr Kihara and Mr Mbarak also took the MPs through the newly published Kenya Anti-Corruption Policy.
The MPs faulted the policy, saying it fails to define how monies recovered by EACC is to be used.
"We should have local legislation to implement the international agreement on recovery and use of these monies," said Kisumu West MP Olago Oluoch.