12 December 2018

Kenyatta Asks Judiciary Not to Protect Impunity in Anti-Graft War

President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Judiciary not to protect impunity in the fight against corruption.

Addressing the nation during celebrations of the 55th Jamhuri Day at Nyayo stadium in Nairobi on Wednesday, President Kenyatta decried the courts' issuance of “ridiculous" bail terms to corruption suspects.

NO UNTOUCHABLES

The president's comments came days after senior officials and ex-officials of the Kenya Pipeline Company, the National Cereals and Produce Board and the National Hospital Insurance Fund were freed on bonds and bails after denying various charges.

He pointed out, however, that he remains committed to strengthening governance institutions, entrenching the rule of law and stamping out corruption.

"Through the efforts of our investigative agencies and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, individuals who may have thought they were untouchable are now facing the full force of the law," he said.

"These individuals deserve fair trials but nothing more. I am again calling for the Judiciary to ensure that its procedures are not used to protect impunity."

Regarding the public, he said their spirits are dampened when suspects are released on "ridiculously low bail terms" and when there is interference with legislative processes.

DELAYED JUSTICE

President Kenyatta also regretted that some use courts to delay justice. He said, therefore, that all arms of the government must work together to ensure the end of graft in Kenya.

"To those engaging in fraud and abuse of office, please listen to me keenly: you can run but you cannot hide," he said.

"We will catch up with you, and make you pay dearly for every coin stolen from Kenyans."

The president also asked corruption whistleblowers to enlist the support of the media and civil society in unearthing graft cases should the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission fail to do so.

On agreements with other countries for the return of stolen assets, he said, "There is almost nowhere left to hide the ill-gotten wealth robbed from Kenyans."

He noted that once the theft is proven, the agreements provide for the assets to be returned to the Kenyan government.

The president announced that an anti-corruption conference, organised by stakeholders from the private sector, religious leaders and civil society, will take place in January.

He will attend the conference, that he hoped will result in a roadmap will help Kenya get rid of "this cancer".

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