, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) started investigating the questionable purchase the Kenyan embassy building in Tokyo in May, long before Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula asked them to probe the saga, Director Patrick Lumumba revealed on Friday.
Mr Wetangula is facing censure in Parliament over the purchase of the property in which it is alleged that Kenya lost Sh1 billion.
“The minister for Foreign Affairs did not invite us to investigate him. The commission has been investigating the Tokyo matter since the month of May together with the Lagos, Islamabad and Brussels saga,” he said.
The Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations claimed on Thursday that Mr Wetangula asked the KACC to step in after he realised that the purchase was under investigation by Members of Parliament. The minister wrote to the anti corruption body in October seeking to have an independent probe into the matter.
Dr Lumumba who spoke after flagging off the Nairobi walk against corruption added that the KACC had already started interrogating officials who were involved in the acquisition and would soon make known its findings.
“What we are doing now is to interview individuals who were in charge of the Foreign Affairs ministry. We have so far interviewed the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and other relevant staff. When we conclude our investigations, we will forward the report to the Attorney General for further action,” he said.
He also reassured Kenyans of the commission’s commitment in getting to the bottom of the controversial deal.
The commission also announced its new resolve to fight graft at all levels reiterating past arguments that the vice was a hindrance to national development.
“When I was growing up, the City Council would collect garbage on a weekly basis; we would drink water straight from the tap without fear of getting water borne diseases and we even got free milk and food in primary school. What happened to these provisions?” asked Dr Lumumba.
Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo who was the guest of honour representing the Prime Minister argued that the country lacked adequate political commitment in the fight against corruption.
“Kenya used to give loans to other countries but nowadays we can’t even afford to give loans to ourselves and the reason for that is corruption. It is eating into our social and economic fabric,” he argued.
Nairobi Assistant Town Clerk Dan Masetu, observed that the council was constantly implicated in corruption scandals. He however claimed that since the establishment of an oversight committee to watch over the activities of the council officers, the corruption rates had come down.
“So far 70 members of staff have been suspended after being netted by our traps and we will continue in our struggle to fight graft but we need everyone’s help,” he said.