Fighting corruption would cement Uhuru’s legacy; will he pursue it to the ultimate end?

By Wallace Odiwuor | Tuesday, Jul 30th 2019 at 10:48
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A friend recently remarked that the Offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions and that of the Director of Criminal Investigations should altogether be christened the ‘Offices of Recording Statements’.

He was, of course, referring to the DDP’s and DCI’s seeming inability to pursue corruption courses to the very end. Suspects, at best, have been arrested and statements recorded at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

There have been no substantive prison sentences handed to suspects, and neither have there been asset seizures or recovery of stolen property to speak of, he observed.

The latest high profile arrest has been that of the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr. Henry Rotich, his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and 26 others on 24 charges, among them conspiracy to defraud and abuse of office, over the awarding the tender of the Kimwarer and Arror dams to an Italian firm, CMC di Ravenna. Suspects who recorded statements at the DCI headquarters were taken to court and later released on bail.

While it is too early to tell how the cases might go, recent evidence does not give much cause for hope. If anything, there have been no convictions for the masterminds of the National Youth Service, Goldenberg, Eurobond, Karen land, Rio, National Social Security Fund, National Cereals and Produce Board, and Kenya Pipeline Company corruption scandals, among others.

Before the dust could settle on the Kimwarer and Arror dam scandals, however, the Auditor General has flagged another Sh3 billion scam at the State Department of Special Programmes.

Corruption in Kenya, it seems, is the gift that keeps giving. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the country’s principal graft-fighting body, estimates that roughly Sh608 billion, almost a third of the country’s budget, is lost to corruption every year.

With Sh450 billion set aside for the Big 4 Agenda for the FY 2019/20, the cost of corruption in a year could fund the Big 4 Agenda and still leave some spare change for four Thika Superhighways.

The question is whether President Uhuru Kenyatta can make good on his promise to purge the country of corruption. So far, he has blown hot and cold. The lifestyle audits and polygraph tests that he promised are yet to see the light of the day. The tough talk about sparing no one in the fight against graft seems to have yielded very little, thus far.

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