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Mutua named to panel investigating public corruption

Cuomo at podium

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the UB Law School for the second time in three weeks to talk about the formation of a state commission to investigate public corruption. Photo: Ilene Fleischmann

By SUE WUETCHER

Published July 3, 2013

Makau Mutua

UB Law Dean Makau Mutua has been appointed to the Moreland commission investigating public corruption in New York State. Photo: Douglas Levere

Making his second visit in three weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came to the UB Law School today to talk about the formation of a state commission that will investigate public corruption in New York State and the appointment of UB Law Dean Makau Mutua as a member of the commission.

“This commission will restore trust by telling the truth,” Cuomo told those gathered in the Charles B. Sears Law Library in O’Brian Hall on the North Campus. “If this government has something to hide, this commission will find it.

“The government is not the enemy, the government is us. And together we can do great things.”

Mutua joins Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita, a 1986 graduate of the UB Law School, and other top state law enforcement and legal experts on the 25-member “Moreland commission.” Formally known as the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, the panel will probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State.

The bipartisan commission is similar to panels empaneled by Governors Mario Cuomo, Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller under the Moreland Act to conduct investigations of corruption and misconduct.

Mutua and the other members of the Moreland commission have been appointed to the panel as deputy attorneys general by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which will give the commission broad-based authority to investigate all matters that “involve public peace, public safety, and public justice.”

The commission also will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath, as well as subpoena any necessary records.

The formation of the commission follows recent allegations of corruption and misconduct by public officials that Cuomo says show that reforms are needed because current laws are inadequate.
Cuomo visited UB Law on June 12 to stump for an ambitious package of anti-corruption measures and campaign finance reforms. He issued his executive order establishing the Moreland commission after his reforms failed to gain traction in the recently completed session of the state Legislature, and following the filing of federal bribery and embezzlement charges against several state lawmakers.

“We must root out corruption in politics and government,” Cuomo said on Tuesday in announcing creation of the Moreland commission. The commission, he said, “will convene the best minds in law enforcement and public policy from across New York to address weaknesses in the state’s public corruption, election and campaign finance laws, generate transparency and accountability, and restore the public trust.”
The commission expects to issue a preliminary report and recommendations by Dec. 1.

Appointed dean of the UB Law School in 2008 after serving as interim dean for a year, Mutua is a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at the law school. He teaches international human rights, international business transactions and international law.

Mutua is a vice president of the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2002-03, he chaired the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, which recommended a truth commission for Kenya.

He is the author of several books, and he has conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule of law missions to countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe.