More than 2,000 cars worth over Sh4 billion are set to be be destroyed because they were more than eight years old when they were imported.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has ordered the vehicles seized at the Mombasa port crushed as it takes the war against corruption to various entry points into the country.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Nation, commission chairman Mumo Matemu said investigations were going on to establish how and why the vehicles were allowed into Kenya despite the ban on importation of used cars which are more than eight years old.
Although Mr Matemu could not give the number of vehicles the commission had seized, sources at the Mombasa port said more than 2,000 vehicles were being held.
“We are working with the Ministry of Transport to stop importation of used cars exceeding eight years but so far we are going to destroy those already in the country to send a strong message to those flouting regulations,” he said.
It is not clear how the vehicles were cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) given that the Kenya Bureau of Standards has contracted an independent inspection company in Japan, Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Center (JEVIC), to inspect all vehicles leaving that country for sale in Kenya.
He said anti-corruption agents would be posted to all entry points, including airports and border points, to curb diversion of transit goods into the local market and other illegal activities. “These offices will not only help us check corrupt activities but also human trafficking and illegal entry of foreigners,” he said.
The commission has launched various preventive programmes targeting different sectors as it seeks public support in the war against corruption.
“We are deepening our preventive strategy by engaging Kenyans in the fight against corruption and we want them to come out and say they are ready to take a risk and volunteer to spearhead this campaign,” he said.
Besides the over-age vehicles, the commission has also been carrying out investigations on new and old corruption cases.
“We have active files on Anglo-Leasing security contracts, Goldenberg scandal, Charterhouse Bank money laundering claims, election equipment tenders, cranes tender at the Mombasa port, the Standard Gauge Railway, NSSF tenders, NHIF civil servants medical cover, among others,” he said.
He, however, declined to give details on how far the investigations have gone saying, “EACC avoids commenting on active files due to legal implications”.
The commission has called a meeting tomorrow to discuss the regulations on the Leadership and Integrity Act before it comes into force.
The EACC plans to operationise Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity, which provides for ethical behaviour for state and public officers.
The regulations prescribe what types of gifts a State officer can receive, their maximum value, collection, storage and disposal. They also provide guidelines on the opening and maintaining registers of conflict of interest, the grounds and conditions for opening, registering, maintaining, controlling and closing bank accounts outside Kenya and mechanisms on lodging complaints, investigations, disciplinary processes and the enforcement of the ethics and anti-corruption code.
“We have also developed the first EACC strategic plan which is set to be launched by President Kenyatta on March 18,” he said.
He welcomed the anti-corruption initiatives that counties such as Kisumu, Nakuru, Kisii and Kitui have come up with to establish corruption preventive units.
As part of its public awareness campaign, the commission will enter into partnerships with different stakeholders to teach the public about fighting corruption.
“We believe that the education sector will play a key role in what we are doing and that is why we have launched a series of programmes targeting the sector that include integrity clubs in schools and sponsoring drama festivals,” he said.
He said they had also partnered with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in order to incorporate studies in integrity, ethics, values and patriotism in schools.
Mr Matemu said he was satisfied with the support he was getting from the government on the war against corruption adding President Kenyatta had demonstrated his willingness to fight graft through his utterances and launching a website to check corruption in the public sector.
He said the fight against corruption in the country was progress well but called for support from all Kenyans.
The EACC boss said some of the milestones made in the war against corruption include the signing and ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which is currently undergoing review.
He said Parliament is expected to enact new legislation and effect amendments to existing statutes in line with the UNCAC objects.
He said the review findings on the gaps in the implementation of UNCAC will go a long way in rejuvenating the war against corruption in Kenya.
“We at the Commission continue to urge Kenyans to view a successful anti-corruption war as our fourth liberation,” he said.
Mr Matemu said Kenyans liberated themselves from colonialism by energetically and enthusiastically fighting for independence which we finally got in 1963. “Our challenges did not end there. There came the second war aimed at entrenching democracy in our governance. This was the fight for multi-partism which we won in 1992 marking the second liberation,” he said.
He said due to severe governance challenges in the independence constitution Kenyans continued to fight for a new constitutional dispensation with a view to restore the rule of law and shift sovereignty from the state to the people.
“This war was won in August 2010 when a new constitution was enacted and promulgated marking the third liberation,” he said.
The EACC chairman noted Kenyans were now faced with the fourth liberation that is the liberation from the yokes of corruption and impunity.
“Just like the other three wars, we will require men and women who are prepared to stand out and say no to corruption,” he said.
He said a successful war against corruption requires a multi-sectoral approach and all Kenyans including leaders at all levels have inevitable collective and individual responsibilities in the fight.
Mr Matemu said EACC’s commitment to its regional and international obligations has resulted in him being unanimously elected to the presidency of the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA).
This was alongside another unanimous election of one of our officers as the President of the recently established Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for East Africa (ARIN-EA).
“These developments manifest that the reform agenda that the Country is implementing has been noted and the region has tremendous faith in what we are doing,” he said.
Rules on vehicle importation
In 2005, Kenya introduced new regulations on importation of used cars requiring that such vehicles should not be more than eight years old from the year of first registration and the difference between this year and the year of manufactur should not be more than one year.
All left-hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration unless they are for special purpose, that is, ambulances, fire engines and large construction vehicles imported for projects and to be eventually donated to the government.
All used vehicles imported into Kenya are inspected for road worthiness, safety and other requirements.
All imports of used motor vehicles including those belonging to returning residents, diplomats and or public servants must meet the above requirements.