Days ago, an assistant minister said the terms establishing the Grand Coalition should be amended as they are hindering the fight against corruption; he said the accord made it difficult for the President to punish a Cabinet minister because has to consult the Prime Minister.
At about the same time, the management of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission complained of frustrations by the office of the Attorney General.
A review of KACC’s annual report for 2007-2008 reveals that the commission concluded and forwarded to the AG 111 graft investigations for prosecution. Out of this, 27 files are still waiting for the AG’s direction. Another 70 were taken to court, but none has been concluded.
Now, before we make a judgement on the progress made on the war against corruption, let us first take stock of the legal framework which has been put in place to fight corruption, the causes of corruption and the cost of corruption.
Corruption is one of the main reasons for increasing global poverty, government ineffectiveness, and inequality. Corruption deprives countries of precious resources, undermines political stability necessary for economic growth, diminishes a country’s attractiveness for viable investments, and hampers efforts to reduce and eradicate poverty.
The causes of corruption include poor law enforcement; low levels of professionalism; lack of respect for the rule of law; minimal accountability and transparency, and; weak democracy.
In regard to legal frame work, we have the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs which is responsible for reforms in governance and anti-corruption initiatives.
THE FOLLOWING LAWS HAVE BEEN enacted Political Parties Act 2007, Witness Protection Act 2006, Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006, Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005, Privatisation Act 2005, Government Financial Management Act 2004, Public Audit Act 2003, Public Officer Ethics Act 2003, and Kenya National Committee on Human Rights Act 2002.
The Narc government enacted the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act in 2003. This facilitated the birth of KACC, Kenya Anti-corruption Advisory Board, and Special Magistrates to adjudicate over corruption and economic cases.
In addition, the Department of Public Prosecution established two new specialised units to deal with Anti-Corruption, Economic Crimes, Serious Fraud and Asset Forfeiture, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics, Organised Crime and Money laundering.
Other anti-corruption institutions we have established include the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, the Public Procurement Oversight Authority, the Public Complaints Standing Committee, the Kenya National Audit Office, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
With such a plethora of anti-corruption initiatives, it is difficult to see how the executive or any individual for that matter can sabotage the good work being done against corruption. However, corruption can triumph if these institutions do not live up to their responsibilities.
We all know that the government has the most capacity to prevent and eradicate corruption. And from this analysis, it is clear the government has travelled many kilometres chasing corruption out of Kenya.
What is now required is the many institutions which have been created to fight corruption, and their commanders to live up to their responsibilities.