Kenya’s graft lords will be crushed

July 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – Newly appointed Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) director Patrick Lumumba took office on Monday with vigour, enthusiasm and a pledge to “crush the lords of grand corruption in the country.”

In his maiden press conference at the KACC offices, Dr Lumumba promised to deliver visible results in the war against corruption, saying his commission did not need prosecutorial powers to succeed.

"So whether you are a huge shark or a whale, remember that the long-term health of this country requires that we exorcise the ghost of corruption so that we deal with the small fries as we deal with the big fish or the so-called the sacred cows," he said.

Although he did not go into details of the strategy he intends to employ to make a difference at the Integrity Centre, Dr Lumumba was upbeat that his five-year term “will achieve a lot."

"Kenyans may doubt.  There\’s no shortage of doubting Thomases, but I have no doubt that if we are given time we will deliver and will of course have consultations with all the players in the fight against corruption and where there are weaknesses I believe we will strengthen," he said.

The Commission has previously been criticised by governance lobby groups and political leaders who accused it of failing to stump out corruption in high level offices and amongst influential leaders in the former and current government accused of having fleeced the public coffers.

In an apparent response to assertions that the war on graft was hindered by lack of prosecutorial powers at the commission, Dr Lumumba said: "If God gives you a lemon, you don\’t cry for an orange, you make lemonade!"

In his characteristic oratory skills, Dr Lumumba told journalists he would not go to rooftops to complain that the commissions was handicapped, but would instead explore available legal avenues to stamp out the deep-rooted graft coupled with impunity in the country.

"Even in the absence of prosecutorial powers, there are innovative ways that have been used in other jurisdictions to fight corruption, and it should not only be seen that the fight against corruption is through the criminal avenue; there are very many civil avenues which can be used in the context of the Money Laundering Act," he said.

He is calling on all Kenyans to fully support him and his team to ensure he brings down the levels of corruption in the country as well as seize property and stolen money stashed in accounts overseas.

"This is not a beauty parade… what we are doing is serious business that involves reputations of individuals and affects lives of real people. We must fight corruption at all levels," he said.

He said he was up to speed with the local and international pressure exerted on the government to fight corruption.

"The public also expects that we must deliver; this is not our war, and I want to see everyone joining us in that spirit which must be energised. History demonstrates that the fight against corruption has always been a conspiracy of several organisations most of all the press," he said.

Assistant Directors Pravin Bowry [Legal Services] and Professor Jane Onsongo [Preventive Services] who were appointed alongside Dr Lumumba said they would work together to ensure success in their five-year tenure.

The three were appointed following the September 2009 resignation of Justice [Rtd] Ringera after his irregular appointment was questioned by legislators and the civil society.

Two of his Assistant Directors also quit.


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