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Kenya lacks the capacity to fight corruption

Nairobi
 

Harun Hassan Executive Director, National Council for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) at the County Hall, Nairobi on September 7, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Anti-graft crusaders have censured the government over failure to effectively resource the investigative agencies saying lack of tooling has slowed down the fight against corruption in the country.

The country is struggling with deep-rooted corruption and a culture of impunity despite having impressive laws on good governance, 13 years after the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.

The blame on the government comes at a time when the country is preparing to commemorate Anti-Corruption Day which coincides with its 20th anniversary since the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption [UNAC] slated for Saturday this week.

Representatives from the European Union Delegation (EUD) to Kenya, Kenya Leadership Integrity (KLIF), Civil Society Organizations, the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption (APNAC) and Transparency International - Kenya, and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) expressed their disappoint that the Kenyan government was not keen on slaying the corruption dragon.

“Kenya has a policy of implementation problem. Relevant anti-corruption agencies are not vested with sufficient powers and resources. The country is recording serious cases of wastage, mismanagement, corruption and abuse of office with no transparency when it comes to issues of public contracts, budget execution and audit reports,” said NCPWD's Chief Executive Officer Harun Hassan.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of a four-year project dubbed Strengthening Capacity of Local Civil Society to Fight Corruption: Tupigane na Ufisadi (TUNU), head of governance and macroeconomics section, European Delegation to Kenya, Alexander Baron said budgeted corruption in Africa has been a major drawback to development.

“Budgeted corruption is a major challenge to successful global business for the middle-income countries. Funds fail to materialize for prospective and intended projects. It is a key indicator for underdevelopment and underperformance,” he said.

"Kenya is at a crossroads when it comes to the execution of task force recommendations to tackle graft. The trend has continued without solid steps by authorities to address the bane despite the usual pronouncements," he added.

The TUNU project will cost over Sh300 million to be distributed across Kakamega, Uasin Gishu, Isiolo, Baringo, Homabay, Wajir, Siaya, Kiambu, Meru and Kisumu counties.

According to Baron, the project will lay a steady focus on counties with high cases of budgeted corruption in Baringo, Marsabit and Garissa where citizens have not adequately enjoyed better service delivery from the devolved units due to misappropriations.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has warned that Kenya has been losing a third of its budget to corruption annually in elephant projects stalled or in opaque deals.

Baron lauded the project saying, it will strengthen the capacities of Local Civil Society CSOs to fight corruption, ensure a robust network between the officers and State actors as well and enhance the ability of CSOs to use digital technology to prevent, detect, and report corrupt practices and connect them with State actors in the anti-graft advocacy.

“In a digital age, civil society officers can greatly benefit from using new tools and technologies. The tools allow them to cover more ground information on corruption and impunity. Moreover, they provide officers and citizens alike with an easily accessible, effortless, low-risk way to report instances of corruption,” explained Baron.

“The network will enhance information sharing, pooling of resources, and leverage on the diverse strengths of different advocates,” he added.

The projects will train the CSOs on how and when to use digital tools, the relevance of particular information to embezzlement, and how to access already gathered data.

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