NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called on the Judiciary to up its game in the war against corruption.
The president noted that the war against corruption requires joint effort from all arms of the government but it does not auger well when the Judiciary is seen to be relaxing its system, making suspects walk back to freedom on ridiculously low bail amounts.
“I agree that the suspects deserve fail trial but nothing more than that. I am calling on our Judiciary to ensure that its procedures not used to protect impunity,” he said.
“Kenyans spirits are dampened when we witness suspects released on ridiculously low bail terms, interference in legislative processes and use of the court process to delay justice,” he added.
On December 10, court released Kenya Pipeline Managing Director Joe Sang and four co-accused on a Sh 2 million cash bail each.
They were arraigned at the anti-corruption court and charged with abuse of office, failure to comply with applicable procedures and law and engaging in a project without prior planning.
They all denied graft and abuse of office charges in the Sh1.8 billion Kisumu oil jetty contract scandal.
In July, court also granted bail to senior Kenya Power managers accused of abuse of office.
Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti released the managers who included former Managing Director Ben Chumo, his successor Dr Ken Tarus, company secretary Beatrice Meso and Mr Peter Mungai on a cash bail of Sh1 million each, saying there was no compelling reason to deny them bail.
The president however expressed confidence in the ongoing fight against graft calling on Kenyans to participate in any way they can to help weed out the vice.
Corruption has been a thorny issue since the president assumed power in 2013 derailing key projects and service delivery to Kenyans. In 2018 alone, it is estimated that the country has lost in excess of Sh13 billion to corrupt deals.
Worst hit state departments include the National Youth Service, Kenya Pipeline Company, National Cereals and Produce Board, and NHIF.
The National Cereals and Produce Board is reported to have lost Sh1.9 billion during the year, Kenya Pipeline Company Sh2 billion, and the Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation lost Sh470 million.
During the year 2018, the National Youth Service (NYS) is reported to have lost Sh10.5 billion in a scheme which involved at least 48 individuals drawn from senior management at NYS and National Treasury, as well as suppliers.
As part of anti-corruption strategy, the government has signed legal agreements with several countries aimed at tracing illegally acquired wealth invested in other countries.
Speaking during the Jamhuri Day celebration in Nairobi, Uhuru noted that the pact will make it easier to repatriate money to the country once established it was acquired in an illegal manner.
The government has already signed an agreement on Framework for Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya with United Kingdom, Switzerland and Jersey for the return to Kenya of assets that were acquired using proceeds of corruption and crime, and which are hosted abroad.
The recovered assets will be used to undertake identified development programmes in Kenya, which programmes will be agreed upon and overseen by a steering committee comprising representatives from the participating countries. The specific projects will be in line with the Government of Kenya’s priorities.
President Uhuru Kenyatta also said that the government is in bi-lateral agreements to make it difficult for drug cartels to operate. The treaty will also deal a blow to transnational crimes such child trafficking.