Envoys demand answers on graft in Kenya - Daily Nation

Envoys demand answers on graft in Kenya

Wednesday May 19 2010

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger (left) said decisive action to end the culture of impunity remained elusive while told journalists there have been no successful prosecutions of those involved in high level corruption. Photo/FILE

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger (left) said decisive action to end the culture of impunity remained elusive while British High Commissioner Rob Macaire (right) told journalists there have been no successful prosecutions of those involved in high level corruption. Photo/FILE 

By DAVE OPIYO

Envoys pressed for an answer on Wednesday on when Kenya’s grand corruption would be eliminated.

They asked the government to explain why it was dragging its feet on the issue and what steps it was taking to end the culture of impunity.

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the mainly European ambassadors criticised the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, saying it lacked credibility.

Sources at the meeting, who declined to be named, said the envoys also sought government assurances that post-election violence witnesses and economic crimes whistle-blowers would be protected.

The first salvo

“They also asked the government to not only fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court, but also work on a local tribunal to try the perpetrators,” a source said.

The government, however, got a thumbs-up for pushing for a new constitution, with the envoys paying tribute to President Kibaki and the PM for the reform drive.

They also appreciated efforts the government was making to reform the police, the Judiciary as well as the restoration of the Mau Forest.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger is understood to have fired the first salvo at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre meeting when he said that decisive action to end the culture of impunity remained elusive.

“Without implementation of the reform agenda in a way that brings about fundamental change, Kenya will face future instability,” Mr Ranneberger said in his speech, which was later obtained by the Nation.

The US, the envoy noted, was concerned that the maize, education and cemetery scandals remained unresolved. “The Ndung’u report on irregular land allocations remains secret and the Kazi kwa Vijana (jobs for youth) programme has yet to be audited.”

British High Commissioner Rob Macaire told journalists after the meeting: “There have been no successful prosecutions of those involved in high level corruption.”

However, Mr Odinga defended the government. “The new constitution will give us a fresh and firm foundation to end the culture of impunity.”

Mr Odinga said the suspension of PSs early this year sent an unmistakable message to all public servants that graft would have no place in the new order.

He said that while the three-month suspensions were over, the PSs had not resumed work as the government awaited a final report from the investigating team.

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