Death certificate racket reflects badly on State

As a story in this newspaper yesterday aptly illustrated, the cancer of corruption has gripped Kenya tightly and the Government has no choice but to confront the problem head-on for the benefit of citizens living below the poverty line.

Without question, this will only happen if the Government demonstrates a clear determination to fight and defeat the many cartels in various government and parastatals throughout the country.

According to The Standard story, a well-oiled racket is fleecing insurance companies millions of shillings every year by faking the deaths of insured individuals after getting hold of dubious death certificates.

The certificates are also routinely used to defraud elderly people of their property, particularly land.

What is intriguing is that these goings-on are not taking place in some shadowy backstreet offices — as used to happen in the not-too-distant past — but at Sheria House, the very place everyone believes is the most secure.

Equally interesting, is that the numbers of armed administration and regular police officers manning the gates to Sheria House and the adjacent Harambee House are enough to scare away armed robbers while protecting the crooks working inside the buildings.

It is no longer enough for government officials responsible for the country’s law enforcement agencies to plead that they lack enough funds to train and hire officers to deter and arrest perpetrators.  Instead they should immediately conduct an audit of staff in all areas of government and weed out those involved in questionable practices.

Going by the number of scandals swirling around government offices and parastatals, these are many.

Some of the money saved could then be used to pay for the re-training of those left behind, while the rest could fund hiring of fresh university graduates and their supervisors to cut the new officers’ links to the crooked paths of their predecessors.

That surely is not asking for too much, or is it?