NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – The United Kingdom has committed to help Kenya unravel the corruption puzzle, which continues to drain off billion of shillings from public coffers.
Already, a team of British specialists and financial investigators based in the High Commission in Kenya and back in the UK are following, tracking down bank accounts and operations of those suspected to have stolen from the Kenyan people.
It is believed that some of the loot is hidden in foreign countries, which has prompted the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to seek help from his United Kingdom counterpart Max Hill QC, who is in the country.
This is the first time a UK Director of Public Prosecutions is visiting the country and the East Africa region at large.
Addressing journalists after a meeting with agencies tasked to fight economic, terrorism, and other transnational crimes on Thursday, DPP Hill committed to assist Kenya slay the graft dragon but insisted that this can only be achieved if the law is strictly followed.
“You may have to look at the legal system, the criminal justice system from end to end,” he said.
“We have to ensure that we have the right procedures, starting with the law to ensure that we tackle corruption at its heart just as much as we seek out terrorism at its heart and make sure it is not allowed to flourish.”
He pointed out that already, there is existing cooperation between the two countries to help fight the vices.
“I am conscious of the work that needs to be done in this jurisdiction to tackle corruption. Because corruption is theft from people,” the UK and Wales DPP said.
On August 30, 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta together with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed a pact to facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of corruption and economic crimes.
The two nations also signed an agreement that will see Kenyan security agencies benefit from a robust capacity building programme.
Among the cases Haji wants investigating agencies assisted include the Kimwarer and Arror scandal, where Sh7.8 billion is suspected to have been stolen.
“Some of the issues we discussed ranged on capacity building, support of investigations and prosecution,” DPP Haji stated.
Also present was United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey who insisted that any public official implicated in a graft case should step aside and allow authorities to conclude their investigations.
“We need to see convictions here in Kenya so we can seize and bring back money from those convicted here. We are working hard with Kenyan authorities to secure the same,” High Commissioner Hailey said.
“Where people are hiding money in the UK, or where we can help convict the corrupt in Kenya, we will give every possible support. Anyone indicted of corruption, should step aside from their office, to allow investigations to be held without interfering with evidence and witnesses.”
He assured that “as soon as convictions are in place, where they (the corrupt) have an asset in the United Kingdom, it will be returned in Kenya and be used for the benefit of people of Kenya.”
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, Asset Recovery Agency Director Muthoni Kimani and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Executive Officer Major General (Rtd) Twalib Mbarak were present during the meeting.
Kenya has adopted the multi-agency approach to fight graft and other crimes, to ensure respective cases being taken to court are watertight.