Civil Society calls for the establishment of Economic Courts to try graft suspects

Gladwell Otieno of Transparency International

Civil Society mandarins said that the current scenario where “looters” of public resources utilize the same funds to buy lawyers who then used to drag cases forever before “complicit judges,” is unacceptable

By The Weekly Vision Special Correspondent

Kenya civil society has called for the establishment of an Economic Crimes Court to speed up hearing and determination of corruption cases that currently seem to “drag on forever” in the corridors of justice.

In a joint press statement issued during a nationwide virtual conference on fighting graft, Transparency International Kenya chapter, Haki Africa, Katiba Watch, Muhuri, Peoples against Torture. Alliance for a Clean Environment and the NGO council of Kenya said with less than a year to the end of Uhuru’s term his biggest failure is on the “fight against corruption.

Tough-talking Gladwell Otieno for Transparency International, former anti-graft-czar John Githongo, Katiba Watch, People against Torture Hezekiah Abuya, and NGO council of Kenya chairman Stephen Cheboi said “time had come for Kenyans to demand conviction of top figures accused of stealing billions of shillings from the public.

They took issue with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubillee administration accusing him and his government of engaging in “high octane” arrests of senior figures as “publicity stunts” to fool unsuspecting donors

“Their assets should be frozen as they serve punitive jail sentences,” they said not to use looted public funds to be “elected governors”. Civil society mandarins said the current scenario where “looters” of public resources use the same stolen funds to buy lawyers who then used to drag cases forever before “complicit judges,” is unacceptable adding that the practice is seemingly behind the growing culture of mob justice. They said the tribunal should have powers to arrest, hear, and convict suspects with clear timelines.

They took issue with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubillee administration accusing him and his government of engaging in “high octane” arrests of senior figures as “publicity stunts” to fool unsuspecting donors, pointing to a recent incident in which some judges were arrested for allegedly receiving bribes to influence ruling on some cases, saying the incident was a clear testimony that in Kenya “justice is on sale.”

They expressed fears that President Uhuru Kenyatta may leave office in 2022 without witnessing a “single conviction” of senior bureaucrats who have stolen billions under his watch. The president is on record conceding that the country lost Kshs 2 billion daily to graft, adding that most of the people currently serving jail terms are the poor and helpless holloi poloi without money to hire lawyers and pay stiff bail.

They said despite chest-thumping declarations by the head of state, not a single top senior civil servant has so far been convicted. Just recently, Kenyans witnessed the KEMSA Covid-19 PPEs mega scam yet not a single suspect has so far been arrested and charged despite the Auditor General’s report detailing how that the country lost Kshs 6 billion in the scandal.

They took issue with EACC DCI and DPP of “throwing away good money after bad” guzzling billions “chasing shadows of graft” abroad as investigators follow the so-called “crucial leads” that only lead to a dead-end!

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