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Uhuru: Corruption is a national security threat

By Joackim Bwana - May 19th 2022
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Interior CS Fred Matiangí during the official opening of the International Association of Prosecutors 4th Regional Conference held at a Mombasa Hotel on May 18, 2022. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said countries with weak governance systems have experienced increased incidents of corrupt officials turning a blind eye to transnational organized criminal activities.  

Kenyatta said Kenya has identified corruption as a critical national security threat and requires continuous monitoring and reporting as part of the national security architecture.

He called on judges, prosecutors, civil servants and politicians to be bold in the fight against corruption.

“We are prosecutors, magistrates and presidents and should not close our eyes to corruption. My prayer is we become people of integrity who look ourselves in the eye and deal with corruption. Don't hide behind your independence,” said Kenyatta.

The President spoke in Mombasa during the International Association of Prosecutors’ fourth Regional Conference of Africa and the Indian Ocean; and the East Africa Association of Prosecutors Conference.

Kenyatta asked prosecutors to maintain integrity in their fight against international organized crime and corruption.

The president said today's criminals and their networks are using advancements in technology and increased interconnectivity to advance their agenda both locally and internationally while the government is playing catch-up in the face of emerging crime.

He said governments should adopt bilateral and multilateral arrangements with the objective of mutually investigating and prosecuting emerging international crimes.

“Additional consideration significant to our endeavour include cooperation in the areas of border security and enhancing public awareness on transnational crime as a national security threat in order to enlist our citizen participation,” said Kenyatta.

Kenyatta said the criminal agencies across the region must adopt a proactive approach to identify, trace, freeze, and confiscate funds and proceeds of crime and remove financial incentives and monetary benefits of the crimes.

“The theme calls on us to reflect on the need for innovation in our strategy, intervention and respective operation. We should rededicate ourselves to combat international crime and do so collectively in a collaborative manner that uphold fundamental values,” said Kenyatta.

According to estimates by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime, annually illicit revenue and proceeds of crime equate to more than two trillion dollars globally.

The President said Africa losses 88.8 billion dollars in illegal financial loss each year which is equivalent to 3.8 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD).

“In effect, our continent continues to lose more wealth each year than it gains by at least 40 billion dollars. This clearly demonstrates why the war against corruption and transnational organized crime is a worthy investment for our governments,” said Kenyatta.

He said the resources Africa is losing would otherwise benefit the development agenda and help create a great future.

The President said other nations should adopt Kenya’s multi-agency approach through constitutional and cross border cooperation to fight transnational crime.

“Transnational organized crime demands concerted efforts and cooperation by all nations in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and asset recovery segment of the justice chain is critical to maintain formal and informal dialogue and work close partnerships,” said Kenyatta.

He said due to the complex and constantly evolving nature of crime, continuous education and training are necessary in boosting and fostering the area of identifying and preventing criminal activities.

“Our ability to deliver justice is not evolving unfortunately as quickly as criminal activities,” said Kenyatta.

He said Kenya has enhanced its budgetary allocation to the DPP and other institutions of training like the Training Institute of Prosecutors.

Kenyatta said there is need to integrate and harmonize the laws within the EAC relating to illicit trade and sharing information and formation of regional data base.

DPP Noordin Haji said the government has allowed the directorate to operate as an independent office which has allowed them to deliver justice.

Haji said the government allocation of resources has enabled the unit fight international crime. 

“Strengthening of the police system has enabled us to function well and the political goodwill in allowing operation of statutory agencies has enabled us launch and mount a huge success in prosecution of criminal cases," said Haji.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i applauded the efforts by DPP in prosecution of cases and dealing with the public.

“DPP has done a good job. In 2013 there was not so much to write home about the institutionalisation of the ODPP. We now can see the difference. We are here because of the political good will and the rule of law,” said Matiang’i.

in attendance were  DPPs from Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Botswana, DRC, Egypt Ethiopia, Ghana, Ginue Bisau, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria Seychelles, Somali, Sudan, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbambwe, United States and British High Commission.

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