Kenya: All Agencies Charged With Preventing Corruption Must Be on Red Alert

Nairobi — Anti-corruption agencies have been directed to enhance their preventive role and actions to achieve the desired results in the war against graft.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi stated that corruption poses a severe existential threat to the aspirations of Kenyans and it is high time for them to shape up or things will get tougher for them.

“Kenyans have been asking themselves why corruption thrives in our midst despite the taxpayer footing the bills of many anti-corruption agencies,” he regretted.

“Research indicates that corruption undermines development and service delivery by diverting development resources to personal gain of a few individuals, loss of tax revenue, increasing the cost of doing business and therefore deterring investments, distorting public expenditure and reducing economic efficiency thus slowing down administrative processes.”

While the government is working tirelessly to ensure it positively turns around the fortunes of many Kenyans who are currently faced with the burden of the high cost of living, Mudavadi said corruption keeps sinking the much-anticipated economic progress of the country.

“All these drags and makes the implementation of government policies and programs a most arduous ineffective undertaking. I confidently speak to this because I have been a victim of this maleficence in the setting up of the Office of the Prim Cabinet Secretary (OPCS).” he further regretted.

Mudavadi affirmed that no individual, agency or institution should hide behind the knowledge that corruption is a global disease that has not spared any country regardless of its level of development.

He said the country should not be blind to the fact that allegations and charges of corruption now play a more central role in politics, economics and social life than in the recent past.

“Governments have fallen, the careers of world-renowned public figures ruined, and the reputations of well-respected organizations and business firms badly tarnished on account of corruption. This reality should give us the courage and urgency to act and act decisively to end corruption.” he warned.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary made the remarks during the launch of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) strategic plan 2023-2028 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.

Mudavadi made reference to the leadership and integrity act that creates the oversight standards of integrity and ethical conduct of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission emphasizing on the provisions of the act that a State officer or a public officer will not allow personal interests to conflict with and override their official duties.

He said the act demands that the Commission does not allow State Officers to disregard the values, principles and requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution in the discharge of their duties.

“Considering that a corruption-free society is a recipe for immense economic growth and generations of prosperity, we must develop a culture that snubs corruption. A generational culture that rebukes corruption, pinpoints values and rewards honour, dignity and integrity.” noted Mudavadi.

“Societal values cannot be legislated. If we must have a national culture that respects values of integrity, we must take the bull by the horn early enough by weaning our children against the corrosive influences of corruption. And the adult must get the message that our war against corruption is not a phase, it is becoming entrenched as a way of life and that our society will no longer tolerate it.

The one- time Finance Minister noted that the government is aware it cannot achieve the Bottom -Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BeTA), if corruption is allowed to thrive.

Both the National and County Governments, he said, bear the consequences of corruption. Affirming that the war against corruption is about strengthening governance systems in both levels of Government in order to seal corruption loopholes and resource leakages.

“We must ensure that our Anti-Corruption watchdogs are themselves corruption-free. Administrative offices should not nurture corruption in opaque inhibitive processes by not condoning or excusing corruption in workplaces.” he said

The Prime Cabinet Secretary while calling on EACC to up its game admitted that the war against corruption cannot be won by one institution alone but through collaborations and efforts geared towards breaking silos between agencies, and requiring individual and collective all-hands-on-deck.

“The EACC must leadership. Citizens and the agencies that have mandates to fight corruption must coalesce around EACC because we all are responsible for ridding our country of this scourge. If our citizens espouse values that are consistent with honour, dignity and integrity, the resolve will inevitably filter to those who serve citizens in Government.”

“In Parliament, the elected representatives of the citizens, also have crucial roles to play. The Public Investments Committee must carefully scrutinize reports and financial accounts related to public investments.” he said.

He called on the Auditor-General to work closely with parliamentary committees to unveil inefficiencies and irregularities that may raise suspicions of corruption. The Public Accounts Committee he noted is responsible for reviewing accounts detailing the allocation of funds for public expenses, also plays a significant part in identifying potential improprieties.”

Mudavadi called on the Judiciary with its authority to expedite hearings of corruption-related cases and ensure swift justice. The National Police Service and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) he said form our frontline forces in this battle, wielding vital investigative and enforcement capabilities. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions assumes the crucial role of prosecution.

“I urge the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions to embark on this responsibility with zeal, recognizing that the promptness and quality of prosecutions wield a direct impact in our pursuit of justice, and purgation of corruption.”

“The Assets Recovery Agency and the Financial Reporting Centre too have a crucial role in identifying assets procured by illicit funds and tracking proceeds of crime. It is imperative that those who think they will benefit from the incongruency these agencies to profit from corruption understand that there are no gains to be had from the theft of public funds.” he said.

Mudavadi said BeTA aims to revitalize our economy through a value chain approach but this can only be achieved if public resources are well guarded and utilized for the benefit of the citizens.

“BETA aims to rationalize resource allocation by eliminating wastage of resources occasioned by duplication, fragmentation and ineffective coordination in the implementation of programmes and projects. His Excellency the President has continuously reiterated that our Administration’s objective is to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services. This cannot be achieved if we are tolerant of corruption and unethical conduct.” noted Mudavadi.

He warned that decisive action on those found culpable will be the new norm under President Ruto’s leadership.