Kenya rights bodies want Raila to act

February 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The heat has now turned on Prime Minister Raila Odinga to sack officials in his office who have been implicated in a multi-billion shilling maize scandal.

Transparency International – Kenya (TI) and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said on Wednesday that the PM should spearhead the anti graft fight with the same vigour as he had in pushing for the resignation of Education Minister Sam Ongeri over a free education scam.

“We support the Prime Minister for asking Mr Ongeri to resign, he should also lead by example and sack those named in the maize scandal in his office,” KNCHR Vice Chairman Hassan Omar Hassan said.

Mr Hassan also told those implicated in various scandals to step aside for investigations to restore public confidence. He said it was unfortunate that public officers still cling on their positions despite losing public confidence.

The human rights watchdog has also called for forensic audit in all government offices to establish how funds are spent. Mr Hassan expressed concerns that there were too many scandals that had taken place in the regime of the coalition government.

He cited the sale of the Grand Regency hotel, the maize scandal, and the Triton saga, regretting that no government official had been prosecuted despite loss of billions of shillings in shoddy deals.

TI-Kenya Executive Director Job Ogonda felt that failure by the government to take action implied signs of impunity and only set bad examples to junior officers.

“It demonstrates the rule of law is not supreme; people can steal and get away with it. What is next, Murder and get away with it? Then are you going to be safe in your home and my home?”

He said whether Prof Ongeri was the Minister when the money was lost or not, he should be held accountable since he assumed duties officially and if there were any mishaps, he should have reported them.

However, he said all those implicated should also be prosecuted and explain the whereabouts of the missing funds.

Mr Ogonda said the draft Constitution should include clauses to promote transparency and access to public information as one of the interventions of fighting graft in Kenya.


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