Irene Githinji @gitshee
The government is tightening the noose for high-profile individuals accused of corruption, as investigating agencies move closer to sealing deals with various envoys towards stopping them from travelling abroad.
Outgoing British envoy to Kenya Nic Hailey said yesterday the United Kingdom is working with all investigating agencies in the country towards dealing with the challenge of slaying the corruption dragon, which has continually derailed development.
This came even as Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) disclosed that five governors are among individuals on their target list and may soon be arraigned over corruption-related crimes.
EACC boss Twalib Mbarak said they have been investigating several counties key among them Kiambu.
Although he did not give specific timelines, Mbarak said it is just a matter of time before they can arrest Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and officers in the county, over corruption.
Hailey said he has since requested investigating agencies to share with him a list of all high-profile public officers charged with corruption so that “we can make sure that they do not visit abroad or we do not do business with them”.
“Often when I speak or write about corruption, people say these are just words and we need to move from meetings to action,” said Hailey, when he paid a courtesy call on Mbarak.
He said a number of international partners have already convened meetings for EACC with like-minded missions to share the intention that they will not do business with individuals accused of corruption and “we will make their lives difficult as we can”.
Saying it is an enormous and difficult fight for Kenya, Hailey said the work going on will take time, even as he called for patience, assuring of UK’s support.
Hailey said UK is working on a number of investigations for high- profile persons, though he did not give details because it is an ongoing procedure.
The UK, he noted, has seconded an officer to EACC as well as financial investigators from the British Crime Agency, an Federal Bureau Investigations (FBI) equivalent to the Nairobi High Commission’s office working on the cases.
He said the team is getting close to tracking assets of people who have stolen money from Kenyans and although they know where the assets are, the UK team is waiting for the right moment to build the cases required to bring the suspects to court.
Admitting that the process will take time, Hailey said corruption cases are complicated and take time because the worst thing is to go to court without evidence.
“We are very close to the point now, where some big people will end up in prison, some of them have been charged, some cases are already ongoing and the process of tracing assets to build financial record is also well on course,” the envoy said.
Insisting that people who have been charged should step aside, Hailey said such suspects have the potential of interfering with the evidence and intimidating people if they continue being in office.
“I will continue to call on big people, any person who has been charged with corruption to step aside from their offices. I believe it should be a matter of honour as individuals as well as a matter of law to allow fair investigations that will allow these people to be convicted,” said the envoy.
Mbarak said UK has granted the Commission support, especially now it is in the process of strengthening technical capacity in dealing with challenge of corruption and issues related to integrity.
He said the envoy has helped in developing the Anti-Corruption Policy framework which is related to the signing of the Framework of Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime (FRACC).
The CEO said yesterday’s meeting focused on future cooperation in terms of recovery of unexplained wealth.
“We agreed to increase sharing of information and intelligence between the two countries especially on asset tracing and illicit wealth by public officers and also strengthened will be the existing mutual legal assistance towards ensuring there is an end in impunity,” said Mbarak.