Kenya ar­rests com­pany heads, pro­cure­ment of­fi­cers

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

NAIROBI: Kenya’s anti-graft com­mis­sion ar­rested 20 peo­ple yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing the heads of two state-run com­pa­nies and the sus­pended head of a third, in one of the big­gest sweeps in the com­mis­sion’s three-year history, the com­mis­sion said.

An­other seven in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing a re­gional gov­er­nor, have not yet been ar­rested, but are be­ing sought for “cor­rup­tion-re­lated charges.” Fresh cases of graft have led to pub­lic and me­dia calls for res­ig­na­tions and put fur­ther pres­sure on Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta to tackle Kenya’s ram­pant cor­rup­tion. Last week, Keny­atta con­vened a joint gov­ern­ment and pri­vate- sec­tor team to draw up strate­gies to fight cor­rup­tion.

The Ethics and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (EACC) said most of the 27 in­di­vid­u­als had turned them­selves in on Mon­day and are ex­pected to ap­pear in court on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

The 27 in­cluded Si­las Simiyu, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Geo­ther­mal De­vel­op­ment Com­pany, along with eight other peo­ple from the com­pany, and Evans Ngibuini, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Wa­ter Con­ser­va­tion and Pipe­line Corp, and five oth­ers from that com­pany.

It also in­cluded Charles Tanui, the sus­pended man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Kenya Pipe­line Com­pany, and three other of­fi­cials from the com­pany.

Most of those ac­cused work in pro­cure­ment, the EACC said.

At­tempts to reach the Geo­ther­mal De­vel­op­ment Com­pany, the Na­tional Wa­ter Con­ser­va­tion and Pipe­line Corp and the Kenya Pipe­line Com­pany were un­suc­cess­ful.

The EACC said the Isi­olo Gov­er­nor Go­dana Doyo - who the com­mis­sion had sought to ar­rest on charges re­lated to the county’s bud­get - “has gone into hid­ing.” But a spokesman for the gov­er­nor de­nied Doyo was at large, say­ing he was in fact in the cap­i­tal Nairobi and in­tended to ap­pear in court in the com­ing days. “Of course he is say­ing he is in­no­cent,” the spokesman said.

Last week, the United States, Bri­tain and nine other coun­tries pledged to help Kenya fight cor­rup­tion, promis­ing to step up ef­forts to pre­vent funds leav­ing the coun­try and push­ing for those in­volved in graft to be pros­e­cuted. EACC says 70 per­cent of all cor­rup­tion in the coun­try re­lates to pro­cure­ment, es­pe­cially in gov­ern­ment min­istries and de­part­ments.

Dur­ing a visit to Kenya this July, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said cor­rup­tion “may be the big­gest im­ped­i­ment to Kenya grow­ing faster.” —Reuters

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