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This is a golden chance in fight against corruption

Saturday February 28 2015

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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It is an uncontested fact that grand corruption is one of the biggest obstacles on the road to progress and prosperity for Kenya.

The highest authorities have admitted as much.

During his time as Permanent Secretary at Treasury, Joseph Kinyua revealed that about Sh300 billion was lost to corruption annually.

That is an astonishing figure in a country where vast sections of the population live in poverty surviving from hand-to-mouth by drawing low wages in hard labour or trying their best to live on subsistence farming in ever smaller farms.

This is an unacceptable state of affairs. The decision by the anti-corruption commission to seek the prosecution of key figures at the heart of the Anglo-Leasing scandal, one of the biggest swindles of the last decade and half, is therefore to be welcomed.

But it is too early to celebrate. As is well known, corruption fights back. The strategy of those with deep pockets to keep themselves safe from prosecution is well honed and has been practised almost to perfection.

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Judges have issued orders halting investigations, State House has ordered the suspension of key figures only to quietly return them to office and private individuals have used a combination of bribery and blackmail to steer clear of punishment.

This circus must end now.

The latest initiative is worthy of support but it is essential that all parties carry their weight. The anti-corruption agency should put forward water-tight cases.

The prosecution team should be zealous in the execution of their duties. And judges must have the courage to go where the evidence leads them, either to conviction of the guilty or the acquittal of innocents.   

The Executive has a major role to play. President Uhuru Kenyatta as opposition leader played a big role in helping to investigate the Anglo-Leasing scandal at an early stage.

Now he must walk the talk and offer support to this process as well as ordering the relevant agencies and the Attorney General to pursue asset recovery from those found culpable.

Corruption robs the poor of an education, keeps medicine out of hospitals and leads to poor services in all sectors. It must be eradicated and perpetrators punished.

The authorities now have a golden chance to walk the talk and do something about this vice.

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