Step by step, we are moving forward. Personally, I never thought we would see such action. I never believed we would be able to tackle an issue so intertwined with everyday politics, so ingrained in our society. But the war against corruption is here, and it is real.
Every day I open the newspaper, and another step has been taken.
Of course, the billions we have lost will not return overnight. But progress is about momentum. And we are not only moving forward, but we are moving forward at a serious pace.
For the first time all the directors and senior managers of procurement divisions are being vetted properly. This means interviews, interrogations, and polygraphs. Some have even complained they feel like they are suspects in a criminal investigation, not in a job interview. Good! We will never defeat graft with niceties.
The Uhuru-Raila handshake has made this all possible. It’s opened the door to go after crooked officials based on deed without accusations of ethnic or tribal bias: “Ethnic undertones have been subsided and at least for the first time, people now talk objectively, with the fight against corruption obviously not taking a tribal path,” said National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi.
Without the handshake just imagine the headlines! “Political witch hunt”, they would have cried! Those accused would have claimed this was mere score settling led by political bias. “We have not come out to say one of our own is being targeted, even when Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong was charged, because now the political thinking has decreased,” the ODM chairman said. It’s as if Kenyan is finally learning to put politics aside for the larger political good.
The Kidero bombshell has really upped the volume. The echoes of fear amongst current and former of officials are deafening. The former Nairobi governor was arrested for “alleged criminal activities involving Nairobi City County Government officials touching on the mismanagement and embezzlement of Public funds”, noted a joint statement of the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
But it is not just Dr Kidero. This is not a “one and done” mentality.
We saw the names of Lilian Wanjiru (who was his county secretary), Jimmy Mutuku (CFO), Gregory Mwakanongo (a senior executive) as well Stephen Ogago (Former H/O County Treasury), Luke Mugo (Ag Chief Officer Finance), Maurice Ochieng (Ag Head of County Treasury), John Githua and Grace Njeri from Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd companies all arrested.
This is serious. KPMG had already pointed out that Sh21 billion was unaccounted for at the end of his tenure. And now there are real charges. These are not small accusations: Conspiracy to commit offences of Economic Crime, fraud, abuse of power, unlawful procurement of public property, tax evasion.
With the High Court officially empowering the EACC, it appears to be showtime in the fight against corruption.
The DPP, dividing the frontal attack between the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the EACC, is on overdrive. The battle is even reaching the judiciary itself with claims of missing contracts and leaky revenues. In a show of unity, the DPP, Noordin Haji has confirmed that he had discussed it with Chief Justice David Maraga who had already brought up concerns of corruption in the courts.
The crux of the concern centres around three contracts and the disappearance of at least Sh36million somewhere amongst three particular divisions in the High Court.
In the Commercial Tax Division, Sh26 million of court fees were supposedly not recorded, disappearing into thin air! Likewise in the Environment and Land Registry, the claim is that revenue of Sh7.5 million has been lost; while in the Civil Division, half a million shillings also seems to have gone missing. The issue: fake receipts; and lots of them!
There is also the issue of a dubious medical insurance contract of Sh648,297,521 to Jubilee Insurance as well as another security-related tender. The numbers involved are simply astronomical and scores of officials face serious charges.
The cases keep on coming. The drops in the ocean, are becoming streams. Now let the tidal wave come and wash away the vice of Kenyan corruption.