NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The government has once again been put on the spot over its failure to fight graft in the country.,
During a discussion at the Euromoney International Investment Conference held in Nairobi on Tuesday, only one delegate agreed that the government was making efforts to fight corruption.
The rest of the delegates made it clear they did not feel that the government was not doing enough.
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance Chairman Steve Smith asked: “Who believes that the government is generally fighting corruption? “Oh dear, surely there must be one, there from the government side, that’s a pretty decisive vote,” he said when majority of delegates lifted their hands to show dissatisfaction with the fight against graft.
He said there was nothing new with the overwhelming complaints over failure by the government to fight corruption since for the past two months different groups had accused the government of sitting on graft cases.
The latest indictment was made in the presence of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Minutes earlier, the PM and President Mwai Kibaki had given the government’s commitment to fight graft and impunity.
Mr Odinga defended their efforts saying since his entry into the government, he had seen 12 State corporations investigated resulting in the sacking of six of them.
“It is not true that the government is demobilised in its fight against corruption, I have instituted investigations in State Corporations and six CEOs have been sent home,” he said.
However he was interrupted with a question that gave him and the audience some laughter.
“Sent home or sent to prison?” the Conference Director Christopher Garnett queried.
In defence the Premier said: “Some are on their way to jail.”
Mr Odinga further said that he and President Kibaki were never involved in any corruption throughout their political careers and vowed that they will continue tackling it.
The Prime Minister identified the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Bill, as an important Bill that if enacted into law, will help trace people who steal public money and flee to other countries.
He said the MLA will ease fraud investigations by allowing countries to send or receive evidence on graft.
“Introduction of the Act will enable us to receive and get assistance from outside the country on how to deal with the perpetrators of economic crimes, he said.”
In order to increase foreign investments Mr Odinga said that the government had removed a number of licences that were required for one to do business in Kenya.
He also pointed out that bureaucracy in licensing processes had been reduced to make it easier for investors.
The two day conference organised by the government and Euromoney was attended by local investors and 104 foreigners.