December 18th 2017

Top Stories / National

Anti-corruption agencies meet President Uhuru, but no light at end of corruption tunnel

The chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Francis ole Kaparo pointed out that almost all speakers had shown a collective sense of helplessness, and urged everyone to take up their responsibilities seriously and stop complaining.

By Lydia Tokesilydiatokesi95@gmail.comTuesday, 18 Oct 2016 19:48 EAT

The president summoned all anti-corruption agencies to State House for what was billed as a major roundtable by those concerned to find ways of addressing the sky-rocketing corruption. By the end of the meeting, however, no new path was charted. The buck-passing that the agencies have played for years went a notch higher with literally all the agencies blaming each other.

President Uhuru Kenyatta himself turned the heat on the Auditor-General Edward Ouko for raising questions about the expenditure of proceeds of the 2014 Eurobond floated in European markets. From the Attorney General to Director of Public Prosecutions to Director of Criminal Investigations, none of the officials at the high table could admit inefficiency in their departments.

There were periods of comic relief spiced with extreme hyperbole, for example when the president said his government had done much to fight corruption than any previous government before his. Kenya's successive governments have no enviable anti-corruption credentials, but the opinion of anti-corruption experts converge is uniform that the current one is the most inept at fighting corruption.

"Corruption is frustrating me. The pressure is on me to do something on corruption but my hands are tied... Tell me, which administration has dealt with the issue of corruption like my administration since independence?" he asked.

The moderator of the events, Jeff Koinange, alternatively turned the screws on Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, Attorney General Githu Muigai, and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.

The US ambassador, Robert Godec, urged the government to adopt new ways of fighting corruption. He said the state could change the ways courts operate. For example, he said the culture of judges taking notes by hand was delaying justice. He also proposed that courts, once started with an anti-corruption case, should sit every day, so that there are no adjournments as is the norm now.

President Uhuru scolded government officials over rampant corruption saying the situation is frustrating and that officials do not want to deal with the issue in courts and the judiciary. He also pointed out that his work is to sign whatever name he is sent by the judicial service commission and therefore he cannot appoint or sack a judge.

The president stated: "As president, if there is one issue that has frustrated me, it is this issue of corruption. And I will say why. Because the pressure is on me. Show me any one administration since independence that has taken action on corruption like I have done. I have removed everybody. I have done my part, at great political expense by asking these guys to step aside.”

He tore into the judiciary asking a Court of Appeal judge why they keep giving bail to corruption suspects. He also accused unnamed politicians of using corruption as a political circus, to criticize the government instead of providing solutions to problems and urged those claiming that the Eurobond money was stolen to get their facts right.

He therefore rubbished CORD leader, Raila Odinga’s, claims last week that some proceeds from the Eurobond were stolen, saying such claims should be accompanied by evidence.He also challenged the media to challenge corruption allegations made by political leaders by demanding for evidence to the claims.

The president also pointed out “I have only ever once left the seat of president. Whether I am in Togo, I am still president of the Republic of Kenya. Only once when they took me to some funny court.” This statement has made many to link it with the recent event on Mike Sonko declaring himself  president. The head of state finally urged religious leaders to declare corruption a sin against God and humanity and also to help in the fight against corruption.

During the event the AG also stated “I think the weakest link is the courts; I’m sorry to put my good and distinguished friend under any pressure but the truth is, that if you have 600 cases in court and you have only three being resolved every six months, then that is the weakest link,”

However his sentiments were refuted by Appeal Court Judge Paul Kihara who indicated that they have a huge backlog but part of the reason that many cases are not proceeding as quickly as they should was because of the problems that the cases come in with.

The chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Francis ole Kaparo pointed out that almost all speakers had shown a collective sense of helplessness, and urged everyone to take up their responsibilities seriously and to stop complaining.

The writer is a student of Communication and Public Relations at Moi University and intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.

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