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December 10, 2018

EXPERT COMMENT: Ignore critics, all we want is conviction of corruption suspects

Samuel Kimeu.
Samuel Kimeu.

Whichever way you look at it, there is no way you can take decisive action against corruption and not find political detractors. Remember the people who largely perpetrate corruption are not ordinary citizens. They are our leaders and mostly political actors or those who enjoy political protection. Therefore you will expect there will be a backlash.

We need to overcome the detraction. But if we are saying people are being targeted because they come from a particular political persuasion, are we also saying their appointments were so skewed that if you take action you are likely to step on the toes of people from one place? That would be a national cohesion issue.

What is important is if anyone is accused of corruption, they should be punished in accordance with the law irrespective of their political persuasion, region, tribe or profession.

What I will be concerned about is a situation where only one section of people gets punished for corruption. However, in a situation where impunity thrives like in our country, one has to start somewhere and whichever place you start you will have one allegation or the other.

Our law enforcement agencies must remain true to our Constitution and the law. If they are targeting one person, that will come out. But we have to make progress and that means we must prosecute persons.

Those we prosecute must come from somewhere. I don't think it matters because the law applies to everybody irrespective of all categorizations. If there are political overtones and undertones around any prosecution, that will become clear in the courts of law.

But the on-going fight against corruption is too little to be called a purge, because I have seen just a few people taken to court. It would be a purge if there were attempts to clean up the system with elaborate efforts as widespread as corruption itself.

Prosecutions are important but what is more important is convictions and punishment in terms of assets recovery and prison sentences.

The executive director Transparency International spoke to the Star

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