Stop using churches to cleanse stolen cash, graft lords told

National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee Acting Chair Francis Ng'ang'a at a past event addressing the press over corruption. [Photo by Denish Ochieng/Standard]

An anti-graft campaign committee has accused graft lords of using churches to cleanse their loot under the pretext of supporting the work of God.

According to National Anti- Corruption Campaign Steering Committee (NACCSC) acting chair Francis Ng’ang'a, the corrupt individuals are on the forefront making hefty donations in places of worship.

Speaking during a joint launch of Scripture Referenced Anti-Corruption Materials, Ng’ang’a said that Kenya being a religious country, the proprietors of graft have used their donations to hoodwink the public that they are staunch believers. 

“Most of the corrupt individuals are always on the forefront making hefty donations to support pastoral work without revealing the sources of their wealth,” said Ng’ang’a.

Other agencies that graced the launch include the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

Ng’ang’a’s remarks comes barely a month after the Catholic Church banned wads of cash in funds drive.

“Henceforth, fundraisers in the church will be done by mobile money transfer or by cheque. This will avoid handling of huge amounts of cash and give a clear trail of the donors,” Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Chairman Bishop Philip Anyolo announced.

Yet today, the head of anti-graft campaigns did not hesitate to call the graft lords out for who they really are.

He affirmed that holy scriptures disapprove and condemn the vice.

“For indeed they are thieves for they should be referred to as such,” said Ng’ang’a.

Health Ministry graft

Ng’ang’a highlighted how graft is rooted at the Ministry of Health, a day after EACC survey put the ministry on the spot over graft.

The Health ministry was listed among the ministries where corruption is prevalent.

According to the NACCSC acting chair, medicines stolen from public hospitals end up being sold in private chemists at inflated prices.

“One corruptly acquires medicine supply to public health facilities for dispensation to the people free of charge and stocks it in private chemists for sale,” said Ng’anga.

He added that theft of medicine results to the death of Kenyans who cannot afford to purchase some from the private chemists.

There have been cases of pharmacists in public hospitals helping the private chemist sell their stock by sending patients with prescriptions to them, a local daily once revealed.

Ghost community projects

During the launch, Ng’ang’a revealed that his committee has come across community projects which he termed as of retro value to the public yet they are funded using taxpayers’ money.

In some cases, the intended beneficiaries are not even aware of what the project is all about since they are not provided with the necessary details of the projects from the money allocated and the duration of implementing the project.

“Some projects do not even have project management committees so somebody comes and starts doing things for the people yet the beneficiaries do not relate with the project yet they view them as government projects,” said Ng’ang’a.

He added that members of the public do not provide oversight or make any attempts to derail such projects instead participate in theft of the construction materials.

‘It starts with you’

Francis Ng’ang’a questioned the role that members of the public play in the war against corruption in the country.

“Must citizens wait for corruption to take place so that we chase those thieves?” Ng’ang’a posed.

He urged the public to take the preventive approach in the fight against graft instead of judging anti-corruption agencies on the number of individuals arrested and charged over corruption.

“This is not a very good way to judge as it focusses on the rot,” said Ng’ang’a as he encouraged the public combat graft through preventing it.

He also urged members of the public to ensure that the community projects being launched are valuable to them since they are being implemented using their taxes.

“Citizens should be aware that the taxes they pay when purchasing kerosene, sugar, tea, and other necessities are used to implement those projects. When they are aware of that, it would steer interest for them to start feeling they own the projects.”