President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a tough warning to corrupt officials linked to graft cases saying they will pay dearly for looting the public purse.
While addressing the nation yesterday when he officiated the 55th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, the President solemnly pledged that the corrupt will not evade justice.
“All arms of Government must work together to ensure our nation gets rid of this menace. To those engaging in fraud and abuse of office, please listen to me keenly: You can run, but you cannot hide,” Uhuru declared.
He continued: “We will catch up with you, and make you pay dearly for every coin stolen from Kenyans.”
The President rallied Kenyans to join the war against the vice. He urged them to rise up and stop watching from the sideline and report incidents of corruption to local directorate of criminal investigations office.
“It is time for you to become active participants in this war; it is time for you to say enough is enough, be it to a policeman or a governor, a clerk or a Cabinet secretary, a judge or a politician,”Uhuru said, adding: “Nobody entrusted to hold public office has the right to demand a bribe from you or to squander what you and I have earned from our hard work. I have shown you my unshakeable resolve on this matter, now I need you to show me yours.”
“If they dont listen, report it to your nearest Ethics and Anti-Corruption Office; if they dont listen, give the information to the media and to civil society to unmask these people. Do not tire of doing the right thing, “he added.
The head of state also announced that they had nearly sealed loopholes for stashing the looted cash abroad.
He said that as part of his government’s anti-corruption strategy, bilateral mutual legal assistance agreements have been signed with a number of countries in the west.
The strategy he said, is making the world a very small place with little manoeuvering room for corruption kingpins.
There is almost nowhere left for them to hide the ill-gotten wealth robbed from Kenyans. Once proven it is stolen money, the agreements provide for the assets to be returned to the Kenya Government, the President stated.
On Tuesday this week, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki signed a framework agreement with the government of Jersey for the return of Sh516 million in corruption proceeds.
Last month, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji the two men who have revitalise the war were in the United Kingdom to pursue looted cash.
Uhuru also challenged the Judiciary to ensure its procedures are not used to protect impunity.
Taking his cue from Haji, Uhuru complained that Kenyans’ spirits are dampened when graft suspects are released on what he termed ridiculously low bail terms and the court process is used to delay justice.
The President announced that there will be a national anti-corruption conference in early January organised by stakeholders from the private sector, religious leaders and civil society.
I remain hopeful this conference will come up with a roadmap we can adopt to further this war and get rid of this cancer, he stated.
Uhuru also promised to continue cooperating with foreign investigative agencies to counter the dangers of transnational crimes particularly drugs and child trafficking.
Coming only days after revelations that more Kenyans are wanted in the US in relations to the Akasha drug case, Uhuru promised he will never allow Kenya to be a base of operation for drug lords.
Deputy President William Ruto’s political allies have claimed the war is targeted at his allies to place roadblocks on his path to the presidency in 2022.
Top officials at NHIF, the Kenya Pipeline Company and the National Cereals and Produce Board are among those who were dramatically arrested last week and charged.
The President also congratulated opposition leaders led by Raila Odinga for accepting to spearhead truce in the country.
“Our job as leaders is very simple; it is to work for the people of Kenya every single day, to rebuild the bonds of brotherhood between our peoples and to weave a new and stronger fabric of patriotism and nationhood that we, as a country, so desperately require,” he stated.
Uhuru will be in Raila’s Nyanza backyard for the first time today where he will launch Universal Healthcare in Kisumu.
He is then expected to visit Raila at his rural home in Bondo.
SOURCE: MKARIMU MEDIA AND NEWS AGENCIES