Deputy President William Ruto has urged investigating agencies to deal with corruption suspects fast as he indicated the presidency supports heavy penalties.
He spoke on Friday as the ODM party asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to disband the National Youth Service (NYS) as it had become a conduit for corruption.
ODM, through secretary-general Edwin Sifuna, threatened to call for mass action to force the government to act and jail perpetrators of corruption in the NYS and the National Cereals and Produce Board scandals.
“Is the President condoning the looting? Handshake or no handshake we will not condone corruption. We cannot continue feeding a monster,” he said, referring to the March 9 peace deal.
In Kisii, Mr Ruto whose own backyard in the Rift Valley has been plunged into chaos by a maize scandal, insisted the Jubilee government was committed to fighting corruption, even though the conviction rate for suspects has been low.
The DP said that all those who will be found to have corruptly engaged in public service must be made to answer and very heavy penalties meted on them.
He was referring to the latest scandals at the NYS where Sh9 billion is said to have been lost in unscrupulous deals.
He also mentioned the maize scandal at the cereals board where government officials reportedly received kickbacks to accept maize from traders as opposed to genuine registered farmers.
At least Sh1.9 billion is said to have been irregularly paid out.
“We must shoulder the responsibility of public office by being good stewards of resources and ensuring value for money. The EACC, DCI and ODPP will investigate and prosecute all those who will be found to have misappropriated public funds,” Mr Ruto said.
He was referring to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions, which routinely investigate and prosecute criminal suspects.
In actual sense of the law though, these agencies do not receive verbal directives and are supposed to be independent.
In Maanzoni, Mr Sifuna said NYS had become a conduit for corruption and should be disbanded and the funds channelled through the counties to help the youth since most of the functions that NYS performed were devolved.
“The President must withdraw the goodwill he has extended to some people that gives them the confidence to loot with impunity because the buck stops with him ,” he said.
Speaking at St Paul's Nyabururu Teacher’s Training College in Kitutu Chache South, Kisii County, where he presided over the graduation of 200 teachers, Mr Ruto said the government will ensure legal action against the culprits.
Mr Ruto and President Kenyatta have made the same vows before.
In March 2015, for example, President Kenyatta tabled the infamous list of shame, telling MPs the more than 100 people on the list had been fingered for corrupt dealings.
Most of them were government officials, and were forced to step aside.
Some were acquitted while others had their cases thrown out on a technicality arising from EACC, which had compiled the list but had no commissioners at the time.
In October 2016, at a summit on graft at State House, President Kenyatta lashed out at state agencies for stalling war on corruption despite getting all the resources they ask for.