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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya leader President Uhuru Kenyatta
vows to sustain fight against corruption

by Chris Mgidu NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday vowed never to relent in the fight against rampant corruption which has seen senior government officials charged with the vice.

Kenyatta who separately bids farewell to outgoing EU Ambassador to Kenya Stefano Dejak and British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey stressed that no effort will be spared in ensuring that the vice that has been choking the country’s economy is completely destroyed.

"We will remain focused in the fight against corruption. We hope that every institution will play its part to make this war successful," he said in a statement issued after the meeting in Nairobi.

The Kenyan leader commended the two envoys for strengthening relations between Kenya and their respective jurisdictions during their tour of duty.

During the meeting, the outgoing EU envoy encouraged Kenyatta not to loosen his grip in the fight against graft, saying this will restore Kenya’s dignity and entrench its position as a thriving and progressive economy in Africa.

"The war against corruption in Kenya is restoring investors’ confidence.

"The EU will remain a strategic partner of Kenya not only on the economic front but in the fight against corruption as well," Dejak said.

The recent arrest and prosecution of senior Treasury officials including cabinet secretary, Henry Rotich, and 26 other government officials over dams’ scandal signaled renewed commitment by the government to fight graft.

Noordin Haji, director of Kenya’s of public prosecutions, on July 22 ordered the arrest of Rotich and senior treasury officials for inflating the cost of constructing two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County that is located in northwestern part of the country.

Kenyatta said Kenya appreciates EU’s partnership which has promoted development, adding that he looks forward to more collaboration as the country explores the blue economy as an emerging frontier for wealth and employment creation.

In the meeting with the outgoing British High Commissioner, Kenyatta noted that the UK remains one of Kenya’s biggest trade partners.

"We hope to continue with the journey we began on empowering the youth through small and medium enterprises," he told the outgoing British envoy.

Hailey lauded Kenyatta for the commitment he has shown in combating the vice where even senior government officials have not been spared.

The envoy assured Kenyatta that trade between the two countries will continue to grow whether or not there is a Brexit deal.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Kenya intensifies anti-graft purge amid public outcry over loss of funds

by Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has intensified the war against corruption amid public outcry over pilfering in the public sector that has undermined efforts to eradicate poverty, hunger, unemployment and crime.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s vow to spare no individual in his quest to eradicate graft has started paying off as senior government officials accused of perpetrating the vice are being prosecuted.

The Kenyan leader has publicly reaffirmed his commitment to fight corruption in order to leave behind a legacy of a prosperous, stable and secure country once he vacates office in 2022.

Kenyans from all walks of life have been piling pressure on the government to take decisive action against graft that is responsible for 30 percent loss to the annual budget.

The recent arrest and prosecution of treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich and 26 other officials over dams’ scandal signaled renewed commitment by the government to fight graft.

Noordin Haji, director of Kenya’s public prosecutions, on July 22 ordered the arrest of Rotich and senior treasury officials for inflating the cost of constructing two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County that is located in northwestern part of the country.

According to Haji, the treasury officials flouted procurement rules when negotiating for a commercial facility to construct Arror and Kimwarer dams whose cost shot up by 170 million U.S dollars.

Rotich and other senior treasury officials have stepped aside pending conclusion of a court case that has shed light on the magnitude of financial misappropriation in the public sector.

Kenyatta has already appointed an acting cabinet secretary for the national treasury as anti-graft sleuths train their guns on other senior state officials accused of financial impropriety.

The cancer of corruption is not restricted to the central government but has also spread in the devolved units where officials have allegedly been colluding with private contractors to embezzle funds.

Anti-graft detectives early this week arrested the governor of central Kenya county of Kiambu, Ferdinand Waititu, his wife and several officials over irregular tendering and conflict of interest.

The first term governor in the endowed county neighboring Nairobi is said to have awarded contract for construction of a feeder road to a company owned by his proxies.

Waititu and his wife spent two nights in police cells but were later released on 15 million Kenyan shillings (150,000 U.S. dollars) bail pending future trials that have already tarnished his image and ability to execute official duties.

A high court ruling last week dealt a blow to governors facing trials over corruption-related charges by declaring they should step aside in line with a clause in the constitution that raises the bar on integrity for public servants.

The arrest and prosecution of senior government officials in Kenya’s renewed anti-graft purge has elicited positive feedback from citizens yearning for transparency and accountability in the public service.

Experts agreed that slaying the dragon of corruption will not only secure an honorable legacy for President Kenyatta but also improve Kenya’s image in the eyes of multilateral lenders and investors.

Tony Watima, a Nairobi-based financial analyst said that endemic corruption was a threat to Kenya’s economic growth, political stability and social cohesion hence the need to adopt deterrent measures like lengthy prison terms for offenders alongside seizure of assets acquired through illegal means.
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FURTHER READING:

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on graft: a turning point or just scoring points?

             

 

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