The recent formation of a framework between Kenya and three European countries for Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime (FRACC) signals deep commitment in the fight against corruption; especially asset recovery
This event was formalised on February 15, when the Assistant State Secretary for Africa, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Anne Lugon-Moulin visited Kenya to endorse the framework.
The cooperation framework is a landmark initiative and signals a deep commitment in the fight against corruption. The framework, which is a collaboration between Switzerland, United Kingdom and Jersey proposes a mechanism for seizing proceeds of corruption and crime. The illegally acquired proceeds will in turn be repatriated back to Kenya where they will be applied for the benefit of public projects. This is in line with the principles enunciated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), to which Kenya is a party. One of the main objectives enshrined in Chapter V of UNCAC is to ensure that the corrupt do not get to enjoy their ill-gotten proceeds.
In the recent past, Kenya has been a major beneficiary of the cooperation offered by the Governments of Switzerland and UK as public assets which were stolen and stashed in the two countries were repatriated back and or frozen and have been used for development projects in the country. The Commission firmly believes that the war against corruption and more so asset recovery will be greatly boosted by the initiation of the FRACC which will strengthen Kenya’s ability to combat the vice.
The Commission has continually placed more emphasis and focus on financial investigations, which has led to tracing of more assets, recoveries and disruptions which avert loss and have saved the Kenyan taxpayer billions of shillings. To illustrate some of the key achievements in the FY 2016/2017, the Commission recovered Sh13,921,644 in cash, land and immovable properties valued at Sh242,122,448, it preserved assets valued at Sh1,360,987,444 and averted loss through proactive disruptions of approximately Sh6,181,466,000. In total, the Commission saved the Kenyan taxpayer a total of Sh7,798,497,536 billion.
Asset recovery is a key deterrence to corruption. When the corruptly acquired assets and gains are sequestered from the criminal, over and above other penal measures and sanctions, the motive or desire to engage in corruption is greatly reduced. In addition, the asset recovery enables the return to, and use of the stolen property by the rightful owner, who happens to be the public. This has a positive impact on development. These are some of the cases where the Commission has facilitated return of assets to the public through recovery and restitution-
. In Kitui County, illegal payments of Sh1.3 billion by the County Government to contractors was stopped following intervention of the Commission;
· A residential property at Woodley belonging to the Nairobi City County valued at Sh75 million was recovered;
· In Kisumu County, land valued at Sh30 million which had been grabbed was re-possessed;
· Two parcels of land in Mombasa valued at a total of Sh130 million belonging to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority were re-possessed. These success stories have been made possible through implementation of legal framework such as; Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, and the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act. EACC appreciates that the recovery of corruptly acquired assets serves as a big deterrence to engage in corruption. Despite numerous challenges, the Commission has made significant progress towards this initiative hence attracting global attention. Much will be achieved when all Kenyans stand up against corruption and guard against plundering of public resources meant to benefit them and future generations. Corruption affects people’s daily lives, from roads built poorly, to unequal access to healthcare and medicine, to crime and violence in our communities and across borders, to political choices distorted by money and greed. It is therefore the duty of every Kenyan to join the fight against corruption now!
- Rt. Archbishop Eliud Wabukala is EACC Chairperson