Seizure of corrupt assets takes priority

November 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 4 – The government is taking the fight against corruption to new heights after it declared that it would be pushing for the seizure of fraudulently acquired money and assets.

Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said on Thursday that the government would be pushing for the enforcement of the forfeiture law under the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which compels those charged with corruption to return money and assets acquired illegally.

Dr Mutua said the corruption cycle in the country had continued to thrive as those involved in corruption were not \’necessarily obligated\’ to return stolen money.

"What the government is pushing for is an ability to ask the court, as per the law, is forfeiture such that once you are convicted automatically we recover our assets," Dr Mutua said.

The Government Spokesman\’s sentiments come amid sustained calls from the government to tackle corruption head on.

In the past week, both the President and Prime Minister have been at the forefront saying they would not relent in the war against corruption.

Speaking earlier in the week President Kibaki said the government would intensify the war on graft as his administration was committed to eradicating the vice, which had been identified as a major impediment to economic growth.

"Let us not have people who will seek to swindle government. Such people shouldn\’t be alive because the government uses people\’s money," President Kibaki said at an infrastructure conference on Tuesday.

Dr Mutua said the government was also looking to fast-track the passing of the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill that will help the government retrieve or freeze illegally acquired assets stashed in foreign countries.

"This will allow us to ask foreign countries to collaborate with us to seize and freeze assets that are hidden overseas," he said adding the Bill was awaiting its third reading and urged Parliament to fast track its implementation.

In recent weeks, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission has stepped up the fight on graft that has seen Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang\’ula, his Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi and Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa forced out of office over graft related cases.

KACC Director Patrick Lumumba has also announced that four Cabinet ministers and close to 45 senior heads of parastatals were being investigated over corruption related issues.


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