On February 11, 2019 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the Multi-Sectoral National Anti-Corruption Conference.  This gathering has brought together various stakeholders from the full spectrum of our national life, with a view of providing a forum for reflection on the question of Governance and the vice that is Corruption, as well as its impact on our Nation.

In this August Assembly, convened under the auspices of the Multi-Sectoral Forum, we have heard from individual citizens from all walks of life, the Clergy, professional groups, public institutions, religious organizations, Private Companies, government entities, political and business leaders, workers and other actors.

We gathered here for two days to conduct a full and frank self-examination of the extent to which each one of us has either helped or hindered the fight against all forms of corruption in Kenya.

We also gathered here to conduct a peer review of the actions of other stakeholders and players in the anti-corruption war, we are all being held to account for our actions and track-record in this most important of national endeavour, the War Against Corruption and Impunity.

This Conference will not be just another talking-shop on Corruption, where high sounding promises of action are made but which never materialize into tangible gains in the fight against graft.

Today we shall turn the tide in the War Against Corruption; creating the platform for victory against a vice that has impeded our social and economic development as a Nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yes, since mid-1990s we have taken steps to kill this monster and we have made some progress in that direction.  But we must admit, the Corruption monster is still alive and remains the single biggest challenge facing our Nation today.

Like a Cancer, it has spread throughout the entirety of our national life and permeated every aspect of our way of life.  In Public Bodies, the Religious arena, Professional Bodies and Private Institutions.

Kitu Kidogo, Chai, Asante, Lunch, Chicken…….  Corruption has become an accepted way of life.  As individuals and as a collective, we have sacrificed our traditions, customs and values at the altar of materialism.

Rather than shunning those who have made their wealth through illicit means, we celebrate them, even in places of worship.

Where once heroes were men and women who have sacrificed and contributed to making our Society a better place, we now admire those who have manipulated the system to acquire ill-gotten wealth.  In Kenya today, Corruption has no stigma, no social consequence.

Those who have stooped low and looted our Nation are nevertheless able to walk down our streets with their heads held up high.  We must reverse this state of affairs. There are no two ways about it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have carefully listened, I have heard you.

As your President, Head of State and Government, following my declaration of corruption as a national security threat, I have continued to sharpen all the arrows in the State Quiver, to bequeath the next generation a country whose foundation is equity and shared prosperity for all.

Today more stakeholders have joined the fight against the vice that holds us back, and from you I have heard new and exciting ideas on how we can enhance our actions against the vice.

My Government has continued to engage our international partners in Mutual Legal Assistance actions.  In this regard, the coming months will see increased repatriation of proceeds of crime held outside the country; extradition of suspects; and the receipt of key evidence to support both local and international based cases.

I wish to reassure all Kenyans that no matter which corner of the globe one hides funds stolen from Kenya, that illicit wealth is no longer beyond the reach of the Government of Kenya.

With regard to recovery measures for proceeds of corruption within our Borders, we have commenced a number of interventions that have already began to bear fruit.  Step by Step, we shall win this war.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent times, Kenyans have witnessed renewed vigour by both Investigators as well as the Prosecution, in boldly bringing the corrupt to book.

For the first time, no person is beyond the reach of the long arm of the law, no matter how powerful or influential they may perceive they are.

With the support received from my Government to all the institutions in the criminal justice system, it is my firm belief that the high-profile prosecutions that have already been brought before courts are the opening act of what our valiant and diligent investigators have been painstakingly piecing together.

The fight against this monster requires all of us to work together in one common accord.  A battalion of 45 Million Strong that makes, us one indivisible nation of one people.

Similarly, all arms of Government, without any exception, must work together to eliminate this vice.  Our Investigators and Prosecutors have taken to this task of fighting corruption with renewed zeal.

All arms of Government must commit ourselves today to clean from our corridors the Crooked Cartels that have for decades abused and denied justice by protecting those guilty of corruption and economic crimes.

Our Courts must stop the practice of issuing injunctions against investigation of corrupt activities.  Issuing these orders makes it easier for the Mandarins of Corruption to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses.  Kenyans have spoken, this practice must stop.

I, therefore, call upon the Judiciary, and in particular, the Judicial Service Commission, to deeply reflect upon and correct areas of weakness that are clearly present in our judicial system.

The identities of Commissioners and Senior Judicial Officers who have broken their Oath of Office and betrayed the People of Kenya are widely known.  The Judicial Service Commission and the wider Judiciary must now decide whether they shall clean their house themselves or have it done for them.

This is not to say that we should not have a vibrant and independent Judiciary. We must never compromise on the “Protections under the Bill of Rights” nor erase the gains that have been secured in making Kenya a more just Society. We can have a judicial system that resonates with the aspirations of all Kenyans as well as one that secures fundamental rights and due process. We all must ask ourselves, “are we with Kenyans in the War Against Corruption, or are we against them?”

Let us remind ourselves of the inspiring words in our national anthem and it says: “Justice should be the Shield and Defender” and I add “of the Public Good” not a barrier against accountability and the prosecution of high-profile corruption suspects.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We in the Executive, as well as our colleagues in the Legislature, are deeply aware that we too have many rotten apples in our midst, at the national and county level.  The root of the malaise is conflict of interest.

Members of Parliament should not be allowed to make laws and create budgets and then directly benefit from the same. Parastatal Chiefs should not be in a position to use their Offices to advance their private business. Those in the arena of Road Traffic Regulation should not at the same time be players in the industries that they supervise.

In line with the proposals made by this forum, I direct the Hon. Attorney-General to prepare a Bill that will address the “Question of Conflict of Interest” and the unintended consequences that arose from the “Ndegwa Commission Report of 1971”, as well as prohibiting any action by any State or Public Officer that creates a conflict of interest, dual loyalties or an advantage over other persons who do not hold such Office.

For example, Members of Parliament including Senators should no longer be able to use Committee Powers to demand information from Public Offices, and then utilize that same information in their other pursuits.  State and Public Officers will have a simple choice, Serve in the Public Arena or do Private Business.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am particularly glad that the conversation about corruption in our Country is now focusing on the role of religious actors, civil society, business, professional groups and the private sector generally in advancing the vice.  This is a conversation that was long overdue.

Most corruption scandals unearthed in Government have been engineered by businesspersons and/or professionals who connive with willing public officials to defraud the Government.

It is for this reason that our renewed efforts against corruption have involved investigation and prosecution of these private entities who provide the supply side of corruption.

I call upon the private sector, and in particular our various professional bodies, to support our efforts and take a bolder stand in calling out the corrupt in their midst.  The disciplinary arms of professional bodies should more actively investigate and take action against members who engage in unethical behavior.

Moreover, once action, such as expulsion from professional bodies takes place, this should be made public and not kept within that profession.

I also urge our religious institutions and private corporate institutions to tackle corruption more aggressively.  The days of sitting on the fence, of not taking a stand, must come to an end. Our Religious Leaders must lead their flock in creating “social jails” for those who have built their fortunes on looted monies. Our Private Companies must make the decision that Profits are not superior to the Public Interest.

The General Public also has an important role to play in highlighting instances of corruption, in both the Public and Private Sectors.  Kenya has a vibrant Social Media landscape and I urge all Kenyans to use the tools of Social Media to identify, stigmatize and report all instances of Corruption that come to their knowledge.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the “War Against Corruption”, each and every one of us must decide if they will be a Soldier or a Collaborator.

We wage this War not just for ourselves, but more importantly for the generations that are coming up and those that are yet to be born. Corruption is the destroyer of dreams, and our Nation cannot achieve her destiny as long as we remain shackled by corrupt practices and their negative effects.

To do this, we must present our children with a picture of the possible.  Profiling the positive. championing the honest. celebrating the humble.

In this spirit, I acknowledge those public officers who perform their duties with commitment, passion and dedication and who abhor fraud and corruption in the true spirit of public service.  You unfortunately suffer the reputational hazard of a few less illustrious colleagues who sometimes give the public service a bad name.

I also want to acknowledge citizens of virtue such as the Kenya Ladies Golf Association Ghana team, who were sponsored by the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture with Kshs. 2.5 million to participate at an event, and returned a cheque for Kshs. 500,000 as money they had not spent. I ail Officers like Police Constable Joash Ombati, who pursued, intercepted and arrested two robbery suspects and declared the recovery of Kshs 400,000.

I also recognize Daniel Mwaura, a matatu tout on the Gachie - City Center Route, who, as described in social media, “did something remarkable and unimaginable in this economy!” by returning a customer’s lost wallet with Kshs. 30,000.

We have so many honest, hard-working and virtuous people in our Society.  We must hold them up as the role-models to be emulated by the Youth, we should celebrate these everyday-heroes as the counterpoint to the narrative that wealth is the ultimate reason for being alive.

Ladies and Gentlemen, As Head of State and Government, I will continue to play my role in the fight against corruption.  We will wage this war with all the tools availed to us by the Law, and we will not compromise or relent.   The interventions proposed here today will be incorporated into the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

With your support, and the support of the millions of Kenyans who yearn for a corruption-free society, this War will be won.

A Child who has just joined Grade 1 should not join Upper Primary in a Society where Corruption is as pervasive as it is today.

I conclude by calling on all Kenyans to join in this sacred duty of making Kenya corruption-free.

I thank you and God bless our beloved Nation Kenya.

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