Kenya: Lobby Presses for Convictions to Fuel Anti-Graft War

23 January 2020

A lobby group has urged the Judiciary to deliver convictions in cases involving mega looters of the economy to boost the war on graft.

Dr Wilfred Kiboro, the founder member of Multisectoral Initiative Against Corruption, alleged that many petty offenders were wasting away in jail while mega criminals are roaming the streets.

There must be a disconnect between the Judiciary, Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in the fight against graft, he added.

"We want to know who is fooling who? Petty offenders are convicted but when it comes to mega crimes, we are told that they can't convict because there is no evidence. The President has done his bit and it's important that the other agencies do their part," Dr Kiboro spoke at a city hotel on Thursday.

FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE

He was flanked by the forum's chairman Lee Karuri and former Association of Professional Societies in East Africa chairperson Irene Wanyoike.

Dr Kiboro wondered whether there are two sets of laws in the country -- one for the 'Haves', and the other for the 'Have Nots'.

He said the forum will organise the second anti-corruption conference in June to take stock of commitments made during the January 2019 conference at the Bomas of Kenya.

"We should make stealing of public funds a very costly affair, and the Judiciary should stop spending a lot of time hearing petty cases," said Dr Kiboro.

CONVICTIONS

His comments come just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged the Judiciary to deliver convictions in graft cases to prove that the country is headed in the right direction in the war against the vice.

"As we soldier on in this fight, I seek the indulgence of the Judiciary to give us convictions as an indication that we are winning in this war," President Kenyatta said last week even as he proclaimed his "continued respect" for the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.

Although some powerful individuals in the government, among them Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, governors and MPs have been charged in court over corruption, none has ever been convicted as the cases drag on.

LIFESTYLE AUDIT

Dr Kiboro also challenged Parliament to expedite the enactment of laws on conflict of interest and lifestyle audit.

"We have seen governors become so rich within five years of power but still the Judiciary says it needs hard evidence to convict individuals. Yet there is everything for people to see in terms of illegal accumulation of wealth. I have worked for over 50 years but I do not have such wealth. We need to stop this hypocrisy," he said.

Dr Kiboro warned politicians against hijacking the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process for their own interests ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Mr Karuri said the capital should be managed by the national government. "We have presented our views to the BBI to have Nairobi City managed as a metropolis by the national government," Mr Karuri said.

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