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ELECTION 2022

Raila Odinga: Sh700b Government funds stolen every year

NATIONAL
By Mate Tongola | May 25th 2022 | 3 min read
Raila Odinga has pledged to fight corruption should he win the August 9, 2022 presidential election. [File, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga has claimed that at least Sh700 billion has been lost to graft each year under the current administration.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader said should he be elected president in the August 9, 2022 presidential election, he will seal all loopholes to make funds available for his social protection programme.

Odinga has pledged to give needy households a stipend of Sh6,000 every month. He has also pledged to support single parents, especially mothers who are facing economic hardship.

Speaking in Vihiga County today, the ODM boss alleged that World Bank data supports his claim – that Kenya loses Sh700 billion to graft yearly.

The World Bank 2020 data places Kenya’s corruption rating in the public sector at three, with one being the lowest level and six at the highest level. That means that Kenya’s corruption index is moderate.

Transparency International, in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, said Kenya was the 128th least-corrupt nation out of 180 countries, meaning that the country’s graft rating was fairly high.

The World Bank has been keen on reducing the graft levels in Kenya to the extent of setting certain conditions before extending loan facilities to the country.

A World Bank judicial project helped establish an advanced data analytics system in Kenya, which is being used to monitor the performance of courts, judges, and court personnel.

Operating as part of an explicit anti-corruption effort, the performance management system is being used in combination with surveys of court users to identify and address corruption risks.

Raila Odinga now claims the World Bank has a report showing that Kenya has been losing Sh700 billion to graft annually.

“I served as Kenya’s prime minister between 2008 and 2013. Before that, I served as a minister in Mwai Kibaki’s government. I know the loopholes that they are exploiting to steal funds from the government,” he said in Vihiga County.

“Every year, they’ve been stealing at least Sh700 billion government money. That figure has been confirmed to be true by the World Bank. Even [former US President Barack] Obama raised concerns about corruption in the country,” said Odinga.

“I’ll seal all loopholes. That would allow me to have enough money to channel to the social protection programme,” he said.

However, there are no publicly available World Bank records that suggest Kenya loses Sh700 billion to graft yearly.

In January 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta estimated that the country was losing Sh2 billion to corruption every day. That translated to over Sh700 billion every year.

In 2015, former Auditor-General Edward Ouko said Kenya couldn’t account for a quarter of its Sh1.6 trillion budget at the time. That meant that some Sh400 billion was lost to corruption in the 2014/2015 financial year.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the fight against graft was a priority when he took office in 2013, but critics have complained that too little has been done.

Despite allegations linking senior government officials with graft, no major convictions have been witnessed, with the courts citing a lack of watertight evidence against suspects to warrant a conviction.

In June 2020, the High Court jailed Sirisia MP John Waluke for 52 years with an alternative of Sh700 million fine. He had been accused of embezzling over Sh300 million State funds.

He is out after filing an appeal.

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