The new anti-graft chief Twalib Abdallah Mbarak has vowed to make corruption a high-risk venture in the country.
Mbarak who took over on Monday at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission as the Chief Executive Officer acknowledged the government’s renewed fight against vice further sounding a warning that under his watch, graft would be made a high risk venture and Kenya will be inhospitable for the corrupt.
“Corrupt persons thrive on volatility. They exploit it for personal gain. I am committed to make corruption a high-risk venture in our beloved country. Kenya will be an inhospitable place for corrupt individuals,” he said.
Mbarak said he would be banking on his experience from both law enforcement and the corporate background in executing his mandate at the anti-graft agency.
He said the blueprint of his administration will focus on among other things ensuring impactful investigations by conducting comprehensive audit of the cases with a view of prioritising investigations based on factors such as subject matter, personalities involved and public interest.
He said he will also be seeking to ensure expeditious completion of investigations.
“I intend to review the current process and unblock any procedural bottlenecks that prevent us from working effectively. I expect this to be done both inside the commission and with the stakeholders dealing with this issue,” he said.
Mbarak further stated that he aims to build and strengthen on EACC’s intelligence and undercover capabilities to allow the anti-graft body tackle emerging threats and identify proactive lines as opposed to reactive investigations.
He added that he intends to strengthen the asset recovery function of the commission in a bid to recover stolen assets and ill-gotten wealth from the corrupt.
“The corrupt will fight harder to protect their ill-gotten wealth from confiscation than they would do avoid imprisonment. Once the gain is seized from the corrupt individuals, the deterrence effect will trickle down at all levels if citizenship,” he said.
“I'm committed to faithfully and impartially execute the functions of the office without fear, favour, or ill-will.”
Mbarak, who takes over from Halakhe Waqo whose six-year tenure ended last week, was sworn in at a ceremony presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court Building.
Also present were Attorney General Paul Kihara, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti, EACC Chairman Eliud Wabukala and Solicitor General Ken Ogeto among others.
Mbarak served in the Kenyan military from 1984 to 1999 before he later joined the National Intelligence Service until 2006.
He later joined EACC until 2010 when he moved to electricity generating company KenGen where he worked as the security and integrity manager from 2012 until his appointment as EACC CEO.
He comes to office when the expectations of Kenyans are high in the war on corruption. Many cases are pending under investigations amid calls for the prosecution to always present water tight cases to get convictions.
Wabukhala said the war against corruption can and will only be won when it is collectively fought and urged Kenyans across the spectrum, in the public and private sectors, the religious institutions, civil society, media to commit to make a stand against corruption for the betterment of the future.
“The heightened national agenda to fight corruption provides an opportune time for the Commission to re-energize its focus in this war. I believe that soon we will begin to see an end to this scourge,” he said.
He assured Kenyans that the fight against corruption is on course and that the Commission is committed to sustaining the momentum built by the efforts of all the enforcement agencies, the goodwill received from our country’s top leadership, and all Kenyans at large.