Tweet August 12, 2018 1:32 pm Leave your thoughts
By Joel Odidi
Top prosecutor Noordin Haji’s intense war on corruption seems to have pleased Kenya’s top leaders.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday reiterated their commitment to the ongoing war against graft.
Speaking during a church service in Karen, Nairobi, President Kenyatta said the demolition of illegal structures on riparian land would continue and urged the country to unite to fight corruption.
On Saturday, Deputy President William Ruto also threw his support behind renewed crackdown on illegally acquired property.
Mr Ruto said that constitutional offices charged with fighting corruption would get undivided support from Jubilee government.
Mr Odinga commended the efforts to tame corruption but linked the success to the Building Bridges initiative.
“This crackdown and the support by the public were unthinkable at the start of this year with Kenya torn down the middle by ethnic politics, elections and impunity until the MoU in the Building Bridges to a new Kenyan nation happened with a very clear agenda on how to address our ages old problems,” Mr Odinga said in a Facebook post that was published hours after President Kenyatta’s comments.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader urged the government to direct same zeal to recover the assets acquired from the proceeds of corruption and impunity.
Mr Odinga added, “Thanks to the bipartisan support, public lands whose recovery started then stalled under the NARC regime in 2003, has kicked off, with the grabbers denied the ethnic and political party sanctuaries they usually hide in. The political atmosphere has enabled us to look at our problems minus the usual ethnic lenses. Attempts by suspects to appeal to their ethnic bases have therefore generated near zero support.”
Mr Odinga said that it was fair to expect that the business premises set up on public land generated some private gain for the illegitimate owners in the same way stolen public funds generated income in the form of bank interests and property for the suspects.
He said that the Asset Recovery Agency must move with speed and ensure that the suspects, both those out on bail and the ones facing arrest, do not hide their ill-gotten wealth or access and use them to undermine justice and frustrate the war on corruption and impunity.
Mr Odinga said that Kenyans needed the monies seized and returned to the public to finance the many gaps being experienced in the development plans, including repayment of the ever-rising foreign debts.
He said that Kenyans must not continue to bear the burden of graft while the corrupt keep their loot.
“Asset recovery must be seen and felt in our anticorruption crusade. Depriving corrupt actors of these ill-gotten wealth and returning them to the public will support development and economic growth and restore confidence in the current crackdown. Corruption must be made a painful crime,” Mr Odinga said.
He said that the Asset Recovery Agency must move out of boardrooms and be seen to be acting publicly in unison with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
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