, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – It’s maybe the magnitude he knows about Kenya’s level of theft of public resources that might have made the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji say “this is not corruption anymore.”
“It is stealing from oneself,” he charged during an event of the Kenya Editors Guild on Tuesday.
In the past 10 months – from April 2018 to January 2019 – the DPP is pursuing graft cases that could have seen Kenya lose a staggering Sh16.81 billion.
But he was quick to caution that figure is way higher since new cases have cropped up in what seems to be like a race to amass as much “without thinking about tomorrow – our children.”
“I think we should debate on whether to use the word theft or corruption,” he said.
“As Kenyans, we probably need to come with terminology that will capture this since it is beyond theft, it is beyond corruption; it is actually stealing from oneself.”
Like cancer, he said, every Kenyan homestead has been affected by the ongoing runaway corruption that has almost drained the public coffers – in a country with a ballooning wage bill coupled with a nail-biting debt.
“It is only by working together as a country that we can get rid of corruption,” he asserted.
And in the renewed effort to slay the graft dragon, he reiterated his warning that no one is immune-not even the highly placed politicians.
“Be you in a position of power or not, if there is sufficient evidence, you will be prosecuted,” he said.
The current trend, he noted, has deprived Kenyans of their rightful share of resources and government services.
His challenge to media was to expose the corrupt but do it right without trying “to glamourize those who have benefitted from a case of theft from fellow Kenyans.”
Though he has vowed to carry on with the fight alongside other institutions mandated to do so, he said there are challenges.
“Those who have benefited from this plundering for years, I am under no illusion that they will stop at nothing to derail our efforts. This will include promoting fake news to undermine public confidence on the law enforcement agencies.
They will seek to attack myself and staff, EACC and the DCI. They will stop at nothing to keep the ill-gotten loot.”
During the event, Haji was hard pressed to explain the fate of some old cases, that seems not to progress.
The list was endless, but journalists were keen on the Goldenberg, Chicken gate – where those accused in the United Kingdom are done serving their jail terms – Ruaraka land saga, the sugar report when legislators “were openly bribed “ among other scandals.
Like in the Goldenberg case, the Nation Media Group’s Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu said “most reporters who covered it have retired” and in the room “it is only myself.”
This only painted a grim picture of how the country’s criminal justice system is a trend that often ensures justice is not delivered.
Law Society of Kenya Chairperson Allen Gichuhi noted “this issue of corruption is ingrained in our DNA from the time immemorial.”
For the vice to be tamed, he demanded: “that blood must be spilled.”
“We have laws but why don’t we implement them?” he wondered.