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PILLOW BANKERS

Thieves don't deserve decorum

If the EACC and the DCI are raiding suspected thieves without minding their status, then this is equity.

In Summary

• Fear of shame can deter those who still have a conscience.

• Depending on the moral health of your conscience, you can call for decent treatment of suspects or condemn their impoverishing rapacity.

Governors, through their prefect, demand a dignified treatment when suspected of theft, as if there is honour in stealing. They accuse the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations of raiding their houses without appointment.

The subtext of the complaint is this: The raids do not give pillow bankers enough time to hide the loot and documents. But from now, they will have to find another way of hiding money when the October 1 recall date of the Sh1,000 currency note arrives.

The Council of Governors does not want its members shoved into police cars like chicken thieves. They do not want to be arrested when their dogs are barking; children crying, spouses baffled, and reporters shooting. They say such transparent arrests are embarrassing for VIP thieves.

 

Governors want to be handled with civility, even as some of them blunder, launder and plunder without decorum. They want to be treated with dignity, even after they have abused the integrity required of their offices.

The demand for special treatment confirms the duplicity of the legal regime, like the presumption of innocence until proved guilty. Or bail for big thieves and remand prison for petty offenders.

There is nothing indecent in arresting a suspect on a Friday, at a Sunday church service, at a prayer breakfast, or during their children's weddings. The suspects should even be arrested at the family dinner table.

The big-league thieves can hire lawyers to delay and defend their right to steal. They can also buy judges—even at the Supreme Court. This is the status quo suspects desire to spite and spit on the tax-paying electorate.

If the EACC and the DCI are raiding suspected thieves without minding their status, then this is equity. Fear of shame can deter those who still have a conscience.

Expressing disgust at the way Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was handled, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya says: "Why can't they have decency? Summon the governor, tell him you wish to go to his house for a search instead of public drama."

The governors want something like this: "This is Twalib Mbarak, EACC Chief Executive Officer, calling from Integrity Centre."

Governor: "What can I do for you Mr Mbarak. What have I done to deserve the call?"

 

Mbarak: "We would like to discuss some issues around your work. Would you kindly grant my officers an appointment?"

Governor: "When would you like to visit? Would June 28 be fine? That would give me enough time to hide the Sh500 million which is in safe boxes in my bedroom. I also need time to transfer ownership of some properties to friends and relatives."

Mbarak: "I'll come back to you, governor." Mbarak hangs up and chuckles: "Some of these people think we are going to be buddy-buddy with them as they plunder public resources. No way, we shall do this our way to protect the public interest."

The EACC and DCI do not need appointments to raid residences of suspected thieves. Making appointments with thieves is complicity. Such appointments would kill investigations: A bad strategy during the Jubilee era of pillow-banking.

Some leaders consider corruption a legitimate way of fundraising for their 2022 campaigns. They consider fighting corruption an attempt to undermine their ambitions.

Depending on the moral health of your conscience, you can call for decent treatment of suspects or condemn their impoverishing rapacity. But this is not the first time suspected state thieves have complained.

They detest Friday arrests. This, they say, does not give their lawyers time to file for release on bond, or buy judges to ensure they don't spend a night in remand.

There can be no decent time to arrest a thief. When duty calls, the DCI and EACC should ambush the suspects. There is nothing indecent in arresting a suspect on a Friday, at a Sunday church service, at a prayer breakfast, or during their children's weddings.

The suspects should even be arrested at the family dinner table. This would expose their children to the lie that Daddy and Mummy worked hard to own the palatial residence in Karen, apartment blocks in Kilimani, a residential court in Runda, nine customised German cars, 1,000 acres of land in Njoro, and multimillion-dollar accounts.

The EACC and the DCI should raid the jungle which some governors have created. Even their 'guardian angel' has been evicted from the forest.