, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – The US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec is urging the government to investigate reports of graft within the Kenya Defence Forces involving an illegal sugar and charcoal smuggling racket in Somalia.
Speaking following a meeting with Ethics and Anti-Corruption officials on Thursday, Godec described the allegations as worrying as it would undermine the war on graft and even on extremism.
He stressed the need for a quick probe and if anyone is found culpable to be punished.
“I would simply urge the government to conduct those investigations as I always urge them to conduct investigations into all such reports and to reach a conclusion rapidly and to ensure if there are evidence to ensure something is happening, those individuals should be appropriately prosecuted or otherwise punished,” he said.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo stated that speedy investigations will be conducted once they receive the report formally.
“So far, we don’t have any official report. I have only heard from the BBC reporting this morning otherwise if any material of credible source comes to us, we will take it up,” he indicated.
The report has implicated the KDF in the illegal sugar and charcoal smuggling racket worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The report is based on investigations carried out by Nairobi’s Journalists for Justice Rights group which interviewed United Nations officials, Western intelligence sources, sugar traders, porters and drivers.
It also accused Kenyan troops of “widespread” human rights abuses – including rape, torture and abduction – and conducting air strikes “targeting crowds of people and animals” rather than the militant training camps it claims to bomb.
The Kenya’s army has previously denied repeated allegations of war profiteering since invading Somalia in 2011 after a string of kidnappings of tourists and aid workers blamed on the a Shabaab.
The Kenyan military has however denied the allegations with Spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo saying their soldiers have always acted professionally in fighting Al Shabaab militants in the lawless country.
Obonyo described the report as ridiculous since it suggested that the soldiers are doing business with Al Shabaab while at the same time fighting them.