FIGHTING CORRUPTION

Politicians on spot as Mbarak raises red flag over hefty church donations

In Summary

• The commission has admitted that it is facing numerous challenges as it fight corruption.

• Lack of cooperation by witnesses and death of witnesses due to prolonged Court cases is also among the challenges facing the commission.

DPP Noordin Haji and EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak at the Supreme Court in Nairobi in April 8, 2019.
DPP Noordin Haji and EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak at the Supreme Court in Nairobi in April 8, 2019.
Image: FAITH MUTEGI

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has raised a red flag over what it terms as hefty church donations by Members of Parliament.

Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak on Thursday said the time has come for the country to question the origin of such huge amount of donations made in places of worship, schools and development projects.

Mbarak said some contributions made in a day by some individuals can take up to 15 years for a common citizen to settle if it was a loan.

 
 

He was speaking during the commemoration of the 3rd Africa Anti-Corruption day in Nairobi. 

"If you are an ordinary income worker, you take a loan and pay for ten or fifteen years. Who is this guy who walks to a church for instance and contributes four times that which you will pay for fifteen years? Logically, does it make sense?" Mbarak posed.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has on various occasions said politicians should not be barred from making donations to churches because the institutions need to grow.

"We must continue doing what we know best. Ni lazima tuweke Mungu mbele kwa yale yote tumefanya. We will not shy away from coming to church. Church also requires to grow. Kwani wale watakuza hiyo kanisa ni nani? Si sisi? So if we start entertianing these other funny ideas, jua unapotoshwa, mnatolewa kwa njia ya Mungu. So endelea kutualika, kwa sababu, we were born in church."

Muturi said church leaders should be grateful they have someone like Deputy President William Ruto whom they can run to and will help them.



But Mbarak said corruption war must be fought at all levels and members of the public should join the anti-graft agency to fight corruption rather than the perception that it is a preserve of the AECC.

The EACC boss said the commission has recovered assets worth Sh11 billion.

 
 
 

According to him, EACC has filed approximately 400 cases in court seeking recovery, seizure and confiscation of unexplained assets worth over Sh10 billion.

He, however, admitted that the long judicial process in the determination of graft cases remains one of the major challenges the commission is grappling with.

"The judicial process in civil cases on asset recovery is very slow. We have to deal with lack of cooperation by witnesses and death of witnesses due to the prolonged Court process," he said.

 

Mbarak said the commemoration of Anti-Graft day across Africa will bring more enlightenment in tracing and recovery of corruptly acquired assets.

His sentiments were echoed by Chairman Eliud Wabukhala who said the fight against corruption continues to receive support from the Government.

He said President Uhuru Kenyatta has pronounced himself on zero tolerance to corruption in public institutions.



Wabukhala further asked Kenyans to be bold on corruption and support all the agencies in fighting the same.

Last week, Deputy President William Ruto hit back at the opposition leader Raila Odinga over the donations.

Ruto said it is hypocritical for Raila to oppose church donations yet the same is biblical.

He said it is very unfortunate that Raila who doubles up as African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure with his brigade are pushing a motion in parliament to cap church donations to Sh100,000.

"Raila ako kwa kitendawili (is in riddles) to take the motion against donation, let him continue making noise and challenging the bible against donation, what awaits him if God’s wrath if the motion goes through, not mine," Ruto said.

The DP said just like going to church, church donation is voluntary and instructed in scriptures and any move to control that is re-writing the bible which he termed as blasphemy.