I’ve played my part in graft fight –Uhuru

EACC, Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions, Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and At­tor­ney Gen­eral blame slow Ju­di­ciary that per­mits too many in­junc­tions.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK @olick­fe­lix

PRES­I­DENT Uhuru Keny­atta, se­nior State of­fi­cers and the Ju­di­ciary yes­ter­day en­gaged in a blame game over the fail­ing war on graft.

And the Pres­i­dent pub­licly ad­mit­ted he was “frus­trated”, on live TV in an event beamed na­tion­wide.

An ag­i­tated Head of State re­buked govern­ment agen­cies, in­clud­ing the Ju­di­ciary, for the stalling war on graft and said he had done all within his pow­ers, in­clud­ing sus­pend­ing and then sack­ing min­is­ters.

Speak­ing at the State House Gov­er­nance and Ac­count­abil­ity Sum­mit, Pres­i­dent Keny­atta hit out at the anti-graft agency, the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and the Direc­torate of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions.

He blasted Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko for at­tempt­ing to ex­tend in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Sh250 bil­lion Eurobond cash to the Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of New York, in the US.

“And this one [Ouko] is say­ing he wants to go and in­ves­ti­gate the Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of New York. Ngai! You know, you sit back and you ask your­self, are we be­ing se­ri­ous in what we are do­ing? Or is it just a joke be­cause the news­pa­pers will re­port it?” Uhuru ex­claimed.

He said his ad­min­is­tra­tion had given all the nec­es­sary re­sources to the Ju­di­ciary and the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agen­cies and ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment Kenyans are not see­ing re­sults.

“Per­son­ally, I am not shield­ing the cor­rupt. It’s you peo­ple who have failed in your jobs,” Uhuru said at the sum­mit at­tended by se­nior mem­bers of the all the three arms of govern­ment.

“And I want to say that, as Pres­i­dent, if there is one is­sue that has frus­trated me, it’s this is­sue [cor­rup­tion], and I would say why. Be­cause the pres­sure is on me . . . show me one ad­min­is­tra­tion, since In­de­pen­dence, that has taken ac­tion on cor­rup­tion like I have done?”

The Ju­di­ciary, rep­re­sented by the act­ing Pres­i­dent of the Supreme Court, Jus­tice Paul Ki­hara, was blamed for re­solv­ing very few cor­rup­tion cases, even though there are hun­dreds of cases pend­ing.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Githu Muigai termed the Ju­di­ciary “the weak­est link” in the jus­tice chain.

Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Ke­ri­ako To­biko protested the courts have only re­solved 198 cases be­tween 2009 and 2016.

“As we speak now, as of Oc­to­ber 12 this year, we have in court 873 in­di­vid­u­als and 22 com­pa­nies fac­ing very se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion cases. Four hun­dred and seventy-four of them are high-pro­file in­di­vid­u­als,” To­biko re­vealed.

But Jus­tice Ki­hara hit back, claim­ing the prose­cu­tors are also in­ept.

“The DPP is right here, I don’t want to pass the buck, but he knows very well that we have had to send cases back be­cause ei­ther pros­e­cut­ing coun­sel did not show up, or, if they show up, they are ill-pre­pared,” Kar­iuki said.

EACC boss Halakhe Waqo ac­cused the Ju­di­ciary, es­pe­cially the mag­is­trate’s courts, of be­ing too le­nient.

“We ar­rested a mag­is­trate in Keri­cho with money in her bag, took her to court in Nakuru and her col­league ac­quit­ted her,” said Waqo, with To­biko weigh­ing in that the Nakuru mag­is­trate failed to give rea­sons for the ac­quit­tal.

But Uhuru blamed the EACC for ad­vis­ing him to fire his Cab­i­net sec­re­taries, yet they had no tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence to nail them two years later.

Some of the fired min­is­ters, he said, “hate me” and are now wag­ing a 2017 on­slaught against his re­elec­tion.

“You, Waqo, made me stand in Par­lia­ment: I sacked min­is­ters and the oth­ers, who are now blam­ing me,” Uhuru protested. The Head of State said his hands were tied be­cause he lacks the pow­ers to hire and fire in­de­pen­dent-of­fice hold­ers, judges, as well as the Chief Jus­tice.

In what ap­peared to be a swipe at Op­po­si­tion chief Raila Odinga, Uhuru said cor­rup­tion should not be used to score po­lit­i­cal goals.

Raila has pegged his 2017 State House bid partly on what he says is Ju­bilee’s in­abil­ity to de­ci­sively deal with graft.

On Sun­day, Raila warned against grant­ing Kenya an­other Eurobond loan be­fore the cur­rent one – is­sued in June 2014 – is fully ac­counted for.

Last month, Ouko said there is no proof of “re­ceipt of ex­pen­di­ture” of the first Eurobond bil­lions any­where in some min­istries.

“The in­abil­ity by the govern­ment to ac­count for ex­pen­di­tures of the Eurobond places Kenya at the risk of sovereign de­fault,” Raila warned.

But yes­ter­day, Uhuru chal­lenged Ouko to name those who em­bez­zled the Eurobond cash.

“The Au­di­tor Gen­eral keeps on say­ing money was stolen from Eurobond . . . What is your prob­lem? If it’s stolen, say it. Say, ‘it was stolen by Uhuru, or so-and-so’. But all the time, ‘we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, oohhhh’ – non­sense!” an an­gry Pres­i­dent said.

“What have you been de­nied? This is just a po­lit­i­cal cir­cus. Cor­rup­tion has just been used as a po­lit­i­cal cir­cus.”

Top Ju­bilee lead­ers, in­clud­ing Ma­jor­ity leader Aden Duale, have pre­vi­ously ac­cused Ouko and Con­troller of Bud­get Agnes Od­hi­ambo of leak­ing State in­for­ma­tion to Raila.

Uhuru said he was dis­ap­pointed that some ar­dent govern­ment crit­ics, in­clud­ing anti-graft Czar John Githongo, had skipped the sum­mit.

Githongo and econ­o­mist David Ndii are among ac­count­abil­ity cru­saders who had been in­vited but gave the sum­mit a wide berth.

Only Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional boss Samuel Kimeu and Houghon Irungu, di­rec­tor of the So­ci­ety for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment, were present from civil so­ci­ety.

Me­dia Coun­cil of Kenya Chair­man and Star Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Charles Kerich was also present.

Just last week, Githongo blasted the Ju­bilee govern­ment, la­belling it the most cor­rupt regime to ever rule Kenya.

Githongo laid the blame squarely at Uhuru’s door, say­ing he has not pro­vided the much-needed po­lit­i­cal will to wage the war on cor­rup­tion.

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Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta ad­dresses par­tic­i­pants dur­ing the State House Sum­mit on Gov­er­nance and Ac­count­abil­ity yes­ter­day

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Na­tional Assembly ma­jolity leader Aden Duale, Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta, Na­tional Assembly Speaker Justin Mu­turi, AG Githu Muigai and IG Joseph Boin­net dur­ing the State House Sum­mit on Gov­er­nance and Ac­count­abil­ity in Nairobi yes­ter­day

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