We will go for big fish in war on graft, says EACC boss as strategic plan launched

EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak, commission chairman David Oginde, Principal Secretary for Performance Management and Delivery Services in the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary Anne Wang'ombe, and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi during the launch of EACC’s five-year strategic plan 2023-2028 at Kenyatta International Conference Convention on Tuesday September 26, 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will pursue high-profile corruption suspects, chairperson David Oginde has said.

Dr Oginde said these are mostly public or state officers he accused of impunity and abuse of power.

"We want to focus our attention on high-impact corruption cases. We will build on this strategy to ensure that the commission does much with the little we have and we pray for more resources to be able to do the work that we need to do," said Oginde.

Oginde added: "Our anti-corruption efforts therefore are going to be focused on highly influential persons. We are going for those who have used their offices to steal Kenyans' resources."

"During the four months I have been in office, I have seen cases of people in positions of power stealing public resources with a lot of impunity. They think there is nothing we can do."

Oginde made the remarks on Tuesday during the launch of the EACC's five-year Strategic Plan in Nairobi under the theme; "An Integrity and Values-driven Kenyan Society".

He said the Strategic Plan is aligned with Kenya Kwanza’s manifesto and Vision 2030, Kenya's development programme, aiming to raise the average standard of living in the country to middle income by 2030.

Vision 2030, formulated with the help of the UN, was launched on June 10, 2008, by former President Mwai Kibaki. 

The strategic plan has five pillars among them law enforcement, promotion of ethics and integrity.

Others are prevention of corruption and unethical practices, and education, training and public awareness.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, who was the chief guest during the launch of the plan, called for collaboration in the fight against corruption.

"Considering that a corruption-free society is a recipe for immense economic growth and generations of prosperity, we must develop a culture that snubs corruption. We need a generational culture that rebukes corruption, and values that promote honour, dignity and integrity. Yes, we may pass as many laws as we want regarding corruption. But societal values cannot be legislated," Mudavadi said.

Mudavadi said the Kenya Kwanza government is aware that it cannot achieve its goals if corruption is allowed to thrive, and that is why they will support all efforts to fight the vice.

Oginde blamed corruption on ordinary Kenyans he accused of being quick to give bribes and putting too much pressure on those in leadership to give them money and other forms of support. "They invite those in leadership by inviting them to fundraisers and expecting too much from them. They also complain about corruption but do nothing about it."

He added: "Kenyans do not fear God and that is why many of them, a majority who are Christians at 86 per cent, are involved in corruption."

 He cited the politicisation of the war against corruption, lack of understanding of the impact of corruption by citizens and underfunding of EACC as some of the hindrances to the fight against corruption.

EACC chief executive officer Tawlib Mbarak said they will deploy technology for a more effective and efficient response to corruption, even as he called for more funding.

Auditor General Nancy Kathungu noted that public procurement is where corruption thrives and called on EACC to seal loopholes.