NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has welcomed the move by the Catholic church to ban huge sums of cash donations during fundraising events.
The church, through the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, instead insisted on electronic transfers in a new strategy meant to deter the use of corruptly acquired monies by politicians in Church fundraisers.
In a statement to newsrooms Sunday afternoon, the anti-graft body said the directive by the conference of bishops will enhance transparency and accountability in handling of all financial donations to the church.
The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak urged other religious organisations to adopt a similar stance, saying it will reverse the trend of corrupt individuals using religious places to channel their ill-gotten wealth to advance their political interests.
“The Commission will continue to partner with willing stakeholders and all like-minded Kenyans in the fight against corruption,” he said in a statement.
“In the same spirit, the Commission calls upon every Kenyan to support the fight against corruption.”
The Catholic Bishops committed to lead the country in a campaign against graft, whose effects continue to be felt across the country, with billions of taxes stolen from the public coffers.
“We wish to lead the country and every person of good will, to commit himself or herself before God, to fight corruption from the grassroots, up to the highest offices,” EACC said.
“We do so with humility by removing our shoes, in solidarity with those who have suffered and continue to suffer the dehumanizing effects of corruption, especially those living in miserable conditions.”
Some of the measures adopted by the Catholic church to curb graft include transfer of donations directly to church accounts through mobile money transfer or a cheque.
The Catholic bishops also committed to “declare and keep open as we have tried to do so far, the lists and accounts of our projects and fundraising initiatives in our Churches or institutions open for public scrutiny.”
Any gift exceeding Sh50,000, the bishops said they will keep a record of it, while such will be accompanied with a letter of acknowledgement.
They also said there will be no political speeches in churches.
The bishops also said corruption complaint desks will be set up in a bid to keep record of reports of graft that the public may wish to make.
An anti-corruption campaign by the Catholic church is set to run for six months.
A renewed war on graft by EACC and other sister agencies has seen tens of government officials arrested. Huge sums of money stolen in graft schemes are however yet to be fully recovered and prosecutions are yet to yield convictions.
Also arrested are businessmen who collude with officials at the Kenya Revenue Authority to evade taxes.
On June 13, United States Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter said Kenya is losing a staggering Sh800 billion to graft every year.
He said the amount stolen from public coffers amounts to the value of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda saying Kenyans must make a passionate decision to fight the menace.
Kenya has the biggest spending budget in the East African region amounting to Sh3 trillion, a chunk of which is misappropriated or outrightly stolen.
“There is a big fund available that can fix all your problems. Every year, $8 billion is stolen from this country,” the envoy said firmly.
“If we can just take that fund, your problems would be solved. In Kenya, there is a choice to be made.”
The Catholic church move is set to compliment a High Court ruling that directed Governors prosecuted with graft to stay away from the office until the matters are heard and determined.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu is among the first casualties of the landmark ruling.