, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The British government has maintained it will continue freezing education funding until the ministries of Education and Finance establish checks and balances to ensure people do not siphon money meant for education.
The British Minister for Africa Baroness Glenys Kinnock said on Thursday said the Kenyan government must deal with the corruption that afflicts its programmes in order to stop the fraudulent loss of funds.
She said the government owed it to Kenyan tax payers who bore the biggest brunt every time money was lost in corrupt dealings.
“We very much hope that those benchmarks can be met as soon as possible so that it is possible for us to reinstate aid through the ministry. However as things are now we cannot do that and that position will remain the same. It is very important that this is cleared up and at all levels such that whenever it occurs it is dealt with by government,” she said.
She also commended efforts taken thus far by the Finance ministry in uncovering the plunder at the Education ministry adding that the President’s stand on corruption was also plausible.
“We have to acknowledge that very strict measures have to be put in place. They need new financial systems to ensure good management of money. One thing that was encouraging was that the Finance ministry was the one that exposed what had happened,” she said.
She added that more funds could have been lost in the scandal and strongly condemned those responsible. “We are only aware of one month’s depletion of funds so there could be far more that we are not aware of. Siphoning off money that is used to better the lives of others is a very bad thing to do.”
The British government also issued fresh calls to the Kenyan government to push for reforms. Baroness Kinnock said authorities must have the political will required to prevent a repeat of the 2007 post election violence.
“I think there was an acknowledgement from a number of discussions I had that people had hoped that things would move a little bit faster. Minds seem to be very focused on what needs to be done and that several issues need to be ironed out. You can show that you want something but unless the political will is there very little will happen,” she said.
Baroness Kinnock also added that Kenyans should hold the government to account for the reforms they wanted, “It is also up to the people of Sudan (which is also due to hold a referendum next year) to press and push for the kind of action that they need and want at this time.”
She further praised the efforts that the select committee had had thus far to help and ensure Kenyans reached a consensus on the draft constitution.
“I think it still remains a difficult issue but I am hopeful that the people in politics, the government and the select committee (next week) will be able to work together, reach a mutual agreement and resolve the issues in order to come up with a proposal which will meet the needs, requests and requirements that the citizens of this country have expressed,” she said.