The fight against corruption was never going to be a walk in the park. The corrupt fellows targeted have the ill-gotten funds, which they turn into a war chest to unleash against anyone trying to unsettle their gravy train. They are also well-connected and may try to pull the strings to ease the pressure agencies have applied on them. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and his team deserve kudos for claiming the scalps of high-profile suspects.
Mr Haji's efforts are being complemented by those of Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, and a resurgent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). However, as critics of these agencies have pointed out, while it is commendable to arrest and haul to court crooked top officials, unless they are convicted, this whole campaign will remain rather hollow. The agencies need to up the ante and have some corrupt officials jailed and stripped of the offices they have so blatantly abused. This is the only way to win public confidence. It is not easy, but it can and must be done. After all, it would be foolhardy of the agencies to go for anyone unless they are convinced that they have impeccable evidence.
One of the best incentives in recent times is the proposal to pay five per cent of the proceeds of corruption to whistle-blowers. This could encourage more people to come forward with tips that can lead to the arrest of suspects. Whistle-blowers are vital in this campaign because they risk their lives for a good cause despite threats from cartels.
Also welcome is the proposal by the DPP to set up a special fund through which the billions siphoned through graft can be recovered and returned to the public. This is laudable.
Corruption diverts much-needed funds from programmes meant to improve the people’s welfare and instead benefits a few greedy individuals. The challenge will be to ensure that the funds recovered will reach the people they were supposed to and are not just kept in public coffers for other looters dip their fingers in the till.