, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 7 – Outgoing British High Commissioner Nic Hailey has pledged continued cooperation with Kenya in the ongoing efforts to recover proceeds of corruption stashed in foreign countries.
Hailey who spoke at a commemorative event to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday at his official residence in Nairobi Thursday evening described the anti-graft campaign as the single most important plank of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration that will determine Kenya’s success.
The diplomat who succeeded Christian Turner in December 2015 vowed to work closely with investigative teams to support ongoing efforts to bring corrupt public officials to book.
“What President Kenyatta is doing on corruption is the single most important thing for the future success of this country. Until the day I leave, I will keep working with my team to support investigations, trace stolen money, and bring the corrupt to book. It is time some big thieves went to jail,” Hailey remarked.
He emphasised the need for successful prosecutions to ensure corrupt officials are locked up in jail even as corruptly acquired wealth is seized by the State.
The High Commissioner who announced that he will be ending his tour of duty in the county in coming months enumerated a number of initiatives undertaken in partnership with the Kenyan government.
He highlighted the UKAid’s support for social security initiatives in Turkana where the Kenyan government has increased funding to support vulnerable citizens following the agency’s intervention.
“At first it came from UKAid, but now two-thirds of the money comes from the Kenyan Government – and soon all of it will, building a social security system that gives protection and dignity to hundreds of thousands of Kenya’s poorest people,” Hailey remarked at event graced by among other government officials, Foreign Affairs Principle Secretary Macharia Kamau
He also made reference to an initiative supporting livestock keepers in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands where UKAid has established a livestock fattening programme to help improve body conditions of animals ahead of sale.
The programme, he said, had enabled livestock keepers in Isiolo fetch better prices for their heard with a bull selling for Sh80,000.
“The girls in his community used to sing about morans who rustled cattle from a rival tribe. Now they sing a song about the guy who got 80,000 bob for a fat bull,” Hailey illustrated.
In the northeast, he noted the introduction of a six-month intensive adult literacy and numeracy training programme had help improve the quality of life at the Kakuma refugee camp.
He pledged continued support for Kenya’s military in the ongoing campaign to degrade the al-Shabaab terrorist group and secure the region’s stability.
Hailey said the UK military had worked with Kenya’s military to help build capacity on roadside bomb detection, a skill that has enhanced the effectiveness of the military operation to combat terrorism.
Members of the British military, he noted, had picked valuable lessons from their visits to Kenya under Defence Cooperation Agreement which enables servicemen to conduct intensive four-week training sessions at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) in Laikipia.
Hailey noted the success of M-KOPA solar – a product developed with the support of Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service MPESA to promote access to affordable solar power.
Over 600,000 homes have since tapped to the solar power through MKOPA. The initiative is projected to save homes at least $ 450 million in kerosene costs in the next three years.
The phasing out of kerosene lanterns has also seen improved health in rural areas.
Learning outcomes have also been boasted with school-going children in rural settings bale to study for longer.