, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – New anti-corruption agency chief Twalib Mbarak announced an aggressive campaign on Monday that will see ill-acquired wealth seized from corrupt individuals and returned to public coffers.
In his inaugural speech after being sworn-in as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Mbarak pledged to work closely with a Multi-Agency Team (MAT) leading the war against corruption in a bid to recover stolen public funds.
“In many cases the corrupt will fight harder to protect their ill-gotten wealth from confiscation than they would to avoid imprisonment,” he observed.
“I intend to improve the capacity of the asset recovery function of EACC and to leverage on the skills in the MAT. Once the gain is seized from corrupt individuals the deterrence effect will trickle down at all levels within the citizenship,” the ex-military intelligence officer pledged.
He warned corrupt individuals that the agency will stop at nothing in pursuit of a corruption-free nation.
“You can acquire dirty wealth but we shall come for you and we’ll make it very expensive because you’ll not have a retirement benefit from proceeds of corruption,” he cautioned.
In apparent reference to adjournment of corruption trials owing to ill-health of accused persons, Mbarak maintained corruption cases will be sustained.
“Crime does not expire. It only expires when the prosecutor walks to court and says the accused is dead,” he said.
Mbarak who took over from Halakhe Waqo whose six-year non-renewable term lapsed this month promised to firmly deal with corruption, making financial crime a perilous endeavour.
“Corrupt persons thrive on volatility. They exploit it for personal gain and I am committed to make corruption a high-risk venture in this country. Kenya will be an inhospitable place for people who are corrupt,” he pledged.
The EACC chief executive undertook to make used of increased allocations to the agency to ensure the war on corruption is won while working in concert with other State agencies.
“I bring a wealth of knowledge from both law enforcement and corporate background. I appreciate that the EACC is in a good place to deliver because the silo mentality of law enforcement agencies has significantly been reduced by the multi-agency approach,” Mbarak noted.
During Mbarak’s installation on Monday, Chief Justice David Maraga announced the deployment of 10 additional magistrates to serve in Nairobi anti-corruption courts to facilitate timely conclusion of corruption-related cases.
Maraga said the magistrates drawn from other stations in the country will sit at Forodha House which is currently undergoing renovation.
“Because of the number of corruption cases that have been brought in Nairobi, I have already brought other (ten) magistrates from other stations to deal with these cases. The magistrates will be able to hear these cases on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
The CJ commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for facilitating the acquisition of Forodha House for purposes of creating more courtrooms and chambers saying the magistrates will primarily focus on the expeditious hearing and conclusion of graft cases.
“My instruction to the magistrates is that when a case starts, they’re to put all else aside and deal with those cases. I have not brought them to Nairobi to do any other cases,” the top judge told actors in the justice sector who had gathered at the Supreme Court to witness Mbarak’s swearing-in.