25 February 2013

Kenya: Maize Saga Tops Scam List

THE infamous maize scandal of 2009 associated with then agriculture minister William Ruto tops the list of mega scandals that occurred under President Mwai Kibaki's ten year regime, Transparency International-Kenya executive director Samuel Kimeu has said.

Kimeu revealed this during the launch of anti-graft poll report analyzing the rising cases of corruption cases under Kibaki's rule since 2003 to 2013.

The poll was dubbed, 'Stuck on a treadmill?-A national opinion poll to evaluate progress on the anti-corruption agenda in the last decade'.

The poll was conducted between January 17 and February 8 this year with 1788 respondent involved."The maize scandal was the most mentioned with almost a quarter (22.6 per cent) of the respondents mentioning it. The controversial sale of grand regency hotel takes second position at a distant 9.1 per cent," said Kimeu.

Ruto was accused of illegally selling maize by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale, the then parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chairman.

Other scandals mentioned and rated by the respondents in report are the Anglo leasing at 9.4 per cent, free primary education at 8.5 per cent and the NHIF scandals at 7.8 per cent.

Most of those interviewed according the report said that they were personally affected by the scandals through the inflated commodity prices to recover the lost resources.

"It's encouraging that a majority of the respondents can see a direct relationship between their day to day life and huge loss of public funds. 38 per cent of Kenyans said that prices of commodities went high due to loss funds in attempt by the taxman to recover lost resources," read part of the report.

The report also cited grand coalition government set up as having complicated further the efforts by the relevant government agencies to fight graft.

"The negative evaluation is constituent between the rural and the urban respondent. A combined 54 per cent of the respondents said that the coalition set up weakened further the efforts to curb corruption," the report read in part.

The report further revealed 60 per cent of Kenyans interviewed in the poll said Kibaki's ten year rule experience increased cases of corruption.

"85 per cent of the respondents also indicated that despite the immense powers Kibaki had to fight corruption. He ignored the aspect of putting to task those named in the mega scandals," Kimeu said.

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