By Blamuel Njururi, Editor in Chief, Kenya Confidential – Nairobi October 20, 2016
Fireworks dominated today’s Corruption and Governance Summit at State House during which President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged the agencies charged with combating graft to state publicly what they needed to fast-track their mandate and none offered any explanation.
The Summit was entertained to lengthy statements by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) Halakhe Dida Waqo, Director of Criminal investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobika and Appeal Court Judge Paul Kihara engage in a spectacular public blame-game melodrama. Attorney general minced no words when he named judiciary as the weakest link ob the war on corruption.
President Uhuru was at pains to explain his government had done all it could to facilitate a multi-agency team to deal with corruption cases but was disappointed with all of them.
He declared, “This is a political circus. Corruption is being used as a political circus. How many cases are before the courts of law? Do you expect me to set up a firing squad at Uhuru Park so that people can be happy?”
The president expressed his disappointment that EACC’s Waqo had given him information that led to sacking five ministers and over a hundred top public officers were implicated in corruption yet no guilt evidence had been established two years down the line. He admitted that the sacking had cost him politically and could not hide the awkward position EACC had placed him politically.
Tobiko put up a spirited fight defending the number of cases he had committed to trial including high echelon personalities as well as politicians who had been tried and convicted. Those attending the Summit could not help but see the deep chasms that exist between the multi-agency team glued together by corporate mistrust about each other.
Deputy Solicitor General & Director, Asset Recovery Agency Ms Muthoni Kimani gave hope to Kenyans by insisting that those caught in corruption must be denied the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their criminal activities by recovering all cash and assets. Her problem remains the great likelihood that even the recovered cash could end up being recycled by the same corrupt cartels.
The Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge emphasized the need for a special court for financial crimes to be set up. Njoroge suggested, that this court would expedite cases where financial crime is involved. He pointed out that it would further reduce the case back log within the Judiciary and ensure that perpetrators are dealt with decisively.
The Inspector General Joseph Boinett exposed himself as a person far removed from the National Police Service reform agenda when he threatened to a arrest a matatu driver who exposed raw police corruption on Kayole-city centre route. Boinett attitude and his threats to arrest the matatu driver is typical Kiganjo training mentality (raiya ni andui ya polisi – citizens are enemies) that encourages police to arrest many innocent people and frame them on trumped up offenses if not bribed. It is now clear that those expecting Boinett to drive or take interest in police reforms are living in a dreamland.
Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) boss Macharia Njeru told Boinett on the face that IPOA will defend the matatu driver John Macharia if arrested after the Summit for telling the truth. The fact that the Inspector General can issue such threats on the grounds of State House before the President, tells a lot about the team and the force he heads and fully explains the brutality police inflict upon Kenyans.
Indeed Njeru gave a graphic account of a matatu driver whose testicles were crushed at Kasarani police station when he refused to bribe police. He was charged with six counts of offenses he never committed but agreed to in order to gain his way to hospital for treatment. His testicles were removed to save his life but the brutal policeman is still in uniform and was never charged for his brutal assault. It is time Boinett started packing to go home. He is a liability not an asset to the police reforms.
Boinett and his colleagues are silent to the fact that police corruption rackets have gone a notch higher and embraced cashless bribes mode. A pilot project at Milimani courts has proved very effective where suspects pay money to a Safaricom Till number and are released before they appear in court. Payment of bribes to a till numbers is the latest method by cartels escaping individual MPesa account method. It is however easy to track down the owner.
The Summit, attended by over 300 participants, went silent on hearing the preposterous threat by Bionnet. Only the moderator KTN TV presenter Jeff Koinange microphone could be heard sniggering and chuckling at the outrageous mischief. But Koinange himself devoted the entire Summit to the panelists of the two sessions and totally denied all other invited guests, who had issues the opportunity to raise matters of concern or make contributions.The was not interactive at all and the invitees were treated as a pack of inert captive audience of onlookers.
Finally he announced that State House Summit had ran out of “Satellite time”. It will be interesting to tell Kenyans how State House ran out of money to extend satellite time or why the Summit could not continue without live broadcasting on such a critical subject. It is of interest to disclose whether the Summit, in which sacred names could have been dropped, was sabotage by corruption cartels President Uhuru has said exist in his office.