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February 18, 2019

Raila wants fast assets recovery in war on graft

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Opposition Chief Raila Odinga
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Opposition Chief Raila Odinga

ODM Leader Raila Odinga wants the government to move fast to recover assets acquired from the proceeds of corruption.

His statement came as President Uhuru Kenyatta said he has lost lots of friends in the last few weeks due to the fight against impunity.

Speaking during a church service, Uhuru said he has been receiving many calls from friends who claim he is seated yet demolitions were taking place. Later in the afternoon, while addressing  International Youth Day celebrations in Kisii, the President urged the public to arrest and hand over leaders and officials suspected of corruption.

Raila called for similar energy and speed to be “directed at recovery of assets that were acquired from the proceeds of corruption and impunity."

"Kenyans need these monies seized and returned to finance the many gaps being experienced in the development plans," he said.

"Ordinary Kenyans must not continue to bear this burden while the corrupt keep their loot."

The government has stepped up the fight against corruption and impunity, with the demolition of structures built on riparian land in Nairobi last week.

On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that government officials who approved construction on riparian land be investigated, arrested and prosecuted. Riparian land is public land and private construction is illegal.

In his statement on Sunday, Raila said it is fair to expect that the business premises that were set up on public land generated some private gain for the owners, "in the same way stolen public funds generated income in the form of bank interest and property for the suspects."

Raila said the Assets Recovery Agency must move with speed and ensure that the suspects, both those out on bail and the ones facing arrest, do not hide their 'ill-gotten' wealth.

Noting that the agency must be seen and felt in the anti-corruption crusade, Raila said depriving corrupt figures of their wealth will support development and economic growth.

"It will restore confidence in the current crackdown,” he said. “Corruption must be made a painful crime.”

The opposition leader said the agency must “move out of boardrooms and be seen to be acting publicly in unison with the DPP, EACC and DCI."

Raila said the agency should also work with the public, as it is the best source of information.

"Many people in this country want to contribute to this war and are looking for a way in which they can assist the anti-corruption agencies to remove this scourge from our society," he said.

"It is the people who know better who is living beyond their means. The agency needs to urgently set up a platform through which the public can share this information."



Raila said all branches of the government must pull in the same direction if the corruption networks are to be overcome.

"The public currently feels cheated by Parliament, which has become the weakest link in this war, with reports of money changing hands for adoption or rejection of reports," he said.

Last week Parliament was rocked by allegations of corruption as MPs ganged up to trash a committee report on sugar that had recommended sanctions against Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his EAC counterpart Adan Mohammed and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett.

Some MPs allegedly were bribed with Sh10,000-Sh30,000 allegedly to shoot down the report.

Raila said the actions were a shame to the nation and deserve urgent and thorough investigation by multi-agency team from the EACC, DPP and DCI.

"The MoU mandates the public to report corruption whenever they witness it. Kenyans must take up this role and also pressure their elected representatives to fight corruption or resign."

Raila added that international partners should open up their institutions and help trace Kenya’s assets and monies hidden in their countries, echoing the DPP’s call for collaboration with America’s FBI in the fight against corruption.

Yesterday, Raila said, "We are anxiously waiting for that support, preferably in more practical ways than routine capacity-building and training."

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