Karua: Govt mulling graft amnesty

August 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 21 – The government is considering offering amnesty to perpetrators of economic crimes who confess and voluntarily return the stolen wealth, Justice Minister Martha Karua revealed Thursday.

Karua said the Cabinet was reviewing proposed legislation approving amnesty, which may be passed in the next few months.

She told the press that the move to offer amnesty had been discussed previously but was shelved due to sharp differences in the previous government.
“We have always pushed for amnesty but those in opposition then thought that we were trying to cover up Anglo Leasing so we did not reach consensus.”

The Minister was of the opinion that past cases of corruption had to be urgently dealt with or the war against graft would not be won.

Her statement came a day after former ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo proposed amnesty to end cases of corruption that have for years dragged in court.

“Offering looters amnesty is distasteful, but better than long prosecutions,” stated Githongo during a public lecture in Nairobi.

The call was echoed by American ambassador Michael Ranneberger who also advocated for a plea bargain to be extended to those accused of corruption.

He said that such a move would allow for the recovery of resources lost due to fraudulent deals.

He further stated that having a plea bargain would be less costly compared to lengthy graft cases that consumed tax payers’ money.

“There is a provision now in Kenya that allows fro plea bargaining where people who are accused of committing corruption offenses can bargain with the government to turn over assets in return fro more lenient treatment,” Ranneberger said.


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