EACC has guzzled billions chasing shadows in the “War” against graft

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak

Opinion By Jackson Kairu

Top officials from the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission of Kenya have been all over the world capitals, jetting in and out, riding first class and spending nights in five-star hotels, enjoying five-star course buffet meals washed down with red wine, all at the Kenyan taxpayers’ expense.

Kenyans need to conduct an audit on how the EACC has conducted itself, assesses whether the country needs to continue sinking scarce resources in an exercise in futility completely unjustifiable on a cost-benefit analysis

The reason they are gallivanting around the world enjoying the good life at taxpayers’ expense is to allegedly fight mega corruption or so they claim, an officer from EACC was quoted saying “We are following the paper trail to offshore bank accounts and have the stolen money returned” Yet on a cost-benefit basis since agency’s inception in the middle 1990s, there has been no significant breakthrough on the war against graft that is currently bleeding the country’s coffers dry.

Kenyans need to conduct an audit on how the EACC has conducted itself, assesses whether the country needs to continue sinking scarce resources in an exercise in futility completely unjustifiable on a cost-benefit analysis. Are people getting value for money? This should form the central question that treasury CS Ukuru Yatttani should explain as he reads out the 2021/2022 budget expected to hit Kshs 4 Trillion. As expected Mr Yattani will without a doubt set aside a huge budget to fund EACC operations among others but taxpayers need to see results. (EACC) has failed to walk the talk, and can hardly justify the huge cost taxpayers are paying for little results.

The admission by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past interview that Kenya loses Kshs 2 billion daily to graft is an indication of the EACC lacklustre performance, that the agency has failed to prosecute and convict a single high profile case is another pointer

Even where EACC claims to have succeeded in freezing bank accounts and repossessing assets from proceeds of corruption, on balance it is just a drop in the ocean because the “country spends more money” trying to recover what was stolen. This is like digging one hole to fill another.

 It’s hardly credible for President Kenyatta to embark on loan seeking missions abroad when there are billions of shillings corrupt Kenyans have banked in offshore accounts. A case in point is former Kenya Power MD Samuel Gichuru finance minister Chris Okemo. The two are said to have banked Kshs 500m in offshore accounts in Cayman Islands, UK. The money was reportedly returned to the country but its whereabouts remain shrouded in mystery.

The admission by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past interview that Kenya loses Kshs 2 billion daily to graft is an indication of the EACC lacklustre performance, that the agency has failed to prosecute and convict a single high profile case is another pointer.  

The admission early this year by EACC that they had recovered assets from proceeds of corruption worth Kshs 20b should be regarded as a drop in the ocean compared to what taxpayers have sunk into the agency since the 1990s. As of now, with barely a year to the country’s crucial transition elections in 2022, not a single notable state bureaucrat has been convicted for corruption whether it at KEMSA, NYS, or the Treasury paying billions for dams that don’t exist.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was in the initial stages an outspoken voice against high-end corruption among state bureaucrats and had promised he would send people to “jail” but his regime is already in the sunset years into his reign with some of his family members having been mentioned in some mega graft cases.

EACC has been chasing state officials who have “unexplained wealth” totaling Kshs 25.5billion. EACC officers raided the Nyandarua county government offices early this year and carted away computers, they also sort to repossess Migori governor Okoth Obado assets totaling Kshs 73 million but the elephant in the room has always been prosecution and conviction with very disappointing results. EACC, in close collaboration with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, has so far investigated and charged Tharaka Nithi, Busia, Migori, Garissa, Samburu, Nairobi and Kiambu governors with corruption-related offences.

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