The State has been captured by systemic forces of corruption that are influencing Government operations, former anti-corruption chief in the Office of the President John Githongo has said.
“The most organised activity in this country is the theft of public funds. We have been living in State capture for long,” claimed Githongo (pictured).
Speaking during KTN News’ Point Blank with Tony Gachoka last night, Githongo said the long history of State-sponsored graft had destroyed the country with the last 10 years showing that Kenya has lost about Sh6.6 trillion to corruption.
Githongo, who served in the office of former President Mwai Kibaki as Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary, said corruption trackers showed the cumulative amount had been lost and there was no end in sight for the cancer of corruption that was devouring the country.
Citing the Anglo-Leasing scandal for which he raised the alarm in 2004, Githongo argued that corruption in Kenya was so systematically planned across many institutions.
“Anglo-Leasing was a methodology of stealing from Kenyan people. People wanted to steal and stealing using debt did not stop after the Anglo-Leasing scandal,” said Githongo, referring to financing of multiple security-related contracts in the early 2000s that involved some British companies, and which imploded into a scandal.
The non-delivery of the goods and services is what led to the scandal that saw a loss of Sh6.8 billion, according to Githongo.
For Githongo, corruption has spread its roots so far that now Kenyans are suffering in different dimensions; eating into aspects such as food security and threatening to destroy unity created by the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, as well as Uhuru’s legacy.
For example, Githongo said, some counties, like Turkana and Baringo, have lost lives due to starvation. Githongo has blamed insensitive leaders, who refuse to respond to grievances facing ordinary citizens.
“Drought is caused by God, but when people die, it is man-made. It is people who have failed. This is not a poor country,” he stated.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
He condemned inaction from the county and national governments, criticised denials by officials as to the extent of the humanitarian crisis and accused leaders of enriching themselves at the expense of the taxpayers.
“We have county governments and infrastructure in place, but leaders who are supposed to be managing the situation start by denying, and that is what makes us lose trust in them. They are busy stealing in Nairobi when they should be taking care of people,” observed Githongo.
Deputy President William Ruto and officials of the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) recently held a joint presser and dismissed claims of deaths from hunger, saying there was no cause for alarm.
Githongo was both kind and critical to Uhuru and his administration. He said the President was the most articulate on corruption in East and Central Africa, but questioned the viability of his words.
“In terms of action, it is ironical...more theft has happened under him. Such contradiction is hard to explain,” said Githongo, who also claimed a cartel was in the system ordering investigations.
For Githongo, “President Uhuru generation is defined by corruption.” He said there had never been such a big loss of billions of shillings within a short time in the country than in the Uhuru administration.
He spoke of Uhuru’s desire to end corruption, saying it was not about the President’s legacy but the entire Kenyatta family.
Asked by Mr Gachoka if Uhuru was anyone’s hostage, Githongo was non-committal and tactfully responded that the challenge in the fight against corruption was political interference and could only be cured if leaders supported the war on graft.
He avoided commenting on whether Ruto could be culpable of economic crimes since the DP and his allies have been seen to be criticising the fight against corruption.