Corruption in Kenya is systemic. One of the institution that allegedly fuels it is Parliament. In addition, most of the elected and appointed leaders have been adversely named in various reporting casting aspersions on their integrity. However, they still hold high profile state positions.
In this second and third part, Captain Wanderi discusses it in more details
PART 3: My encounter with Corrupt MPs – Mkate & Siagi to Approve Public Appointments
Sometimes in 2011/2012 I accompanied BSJ, a friend to Continental House where he was to sign a business agreement with an MP. Before we got to his Office, the MP called and changed the venue to the Main Parliament Buildings. We were picked at the gate by his security aide who ushered us into the Member’s Lounge (Restaurant) where our host ordered drinks for us.
BSJ introduced me as his lawyer and after signing the agreement, our host MP (now a Senator) asked where my offices are. I told him what I did but due to my title/rank he asked many other questions. After mentioning one place I have served in, in public service, the MP asked if I knew a certain person. I answered affirmatively and he asked a lot of questions about that individual which I answered to the best of my knowledge. Our host then called another MP (now a Governor) to our table and asked me to repeat what I had told him about this individual. The two then engaged in a conversation (in our presence) which went this way:
Host MP: Mheshimiwa, nilikwambia huyu jamaa ni mtu mzuri, si umesikia sasa?
2nd MP: Ni sawa lakini ulisikia maneno ya wazee.
Host MP: That is okay, hiyo tutatengeneza bora uzungumze na group yako.
2nd MP: I will do that, but wee pia upigie nani (name withheld)………3rd MP (lost his seat in 2013).
As we were being ushered out of Parliament Buildings, our host was on call with another person (I guess the 3rd MP) and I could clearly pick words & phrases like, “chairman na watu wake” “nimesema atumane kwako”, “ataongeza” “mkate”, “siagi”, from the one sided conversation. Before we stepped out of the Building I clearly heard our host say this to the other person; asante brother, hiyo nitamwabia leo, saa hii tu; wazee hawawezi kula mkate bila siagi, ataaongeza ……”
As you read this, the person the MPs were discussing is a very vocal member of one of the most powerful and important State Agencies; a Constitutional Body in the Republic of Kenya. Any time I watch this individual addressing the media, I always wish I had a tape recorded that day. Despite objections raised by some groups he still got the job. You know how and why.
NB: Do not waste time asking me to report to the EACC. I know how things work there and my faith in the Kenya Witness Protection Program is something else. What should concern you is whether the Speaker of the National Assembly is right to waste time & public resources investigating the “hon” members of the PAC for receiving bribes to doctor reports.
PART 4: A peek at Kenyan’s corruption files
- Every year, China publicly executes about 3000 public officers involved either in corruption, complicity in drug trafficking and other serious offences. Before March 2013, the executions targeted low-grade officers or what Chinese call “flies”. However since President Xi Jinping took office, his administration has taken the fight to the big guys; the “tigers” involved in mega corruption. Senior people who are mentioned in past government reports for involvement in corruption are being purged from the Communist Party and government offices. Many have been paraded before courts, tried, convicted and their property confiscated. The whole process is primed to be very humiliating for maximum effect.
- Kenya has volumes and volumes of past reports of corruption; theft of public resources, bribery, land grabbing, abuse of office etc by the Auditor & Controller General, Public Accounts & Public Investment Committees, and Commissions of Inquiry etc. I have had the privilege of reading some of those reports and I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the names of 40-50 percent of the people who currently serve in public office either as Cabinet & Principal Secretaries; Senators & MPs, Governors & Deputy Governors, Chairmen & CEOs of State Agencies & Security Agencies appear in those reports. To his credit, the name of President Uhuru Kenyatta does not feature in any of those reports.
- China is considered a Third World country like Kenya. But we buy almost everything from them and they are lending Africa, the USA and EU Countries money! Why? The difference lies in leadership. China may not be a democracy but the leadership is sane enough to realize that corruption increases the cost of doing business; kills enterprise and reduces competitiveness and Comparative National Advantage.
- Since H.E Uhuru Kenyatta is not named in any past graft report, he should now purge his Government; Cabinet, the Civil Service, Security Agencies, parastatals inter alia of all people mentioned in graft reports. We must support and encourage him to do that. I don’t know when, but I think he will do it. He will mark tw2 years in office on 9th April 2015. He still has another 3 years. He should do it; he has little choice.
- To fight corruption in government, it must be done from within by people who know and understand the operations of government. It is insiders who know the lapses and loopholes that create opportunities for abuse and graft. Outsiders do not; but they can, do and MUST continue to provide impetus and support to reformists and good insiders in order to seal loopholes & lapses that foster graft in government.
Coming up in PART 5: Why KACA, KACC, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the National Anti-Corruption Steering Committee hardly make any impact in the fight against corruption.
The author is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Chairman Kenya Institute of Forensic Auditors. You can follow him on Twitter @DecaptainCFE.