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Kenya: It’s always bare knuckles on matters graft

There were odd moments when government officials took turns to blame one another over failures in the war against corruption during the two-day conference at Bomas of Kenya that ended Friday.

On Thursday, a multi-agency team accused the Judiciary of failing to nail those arraigned for corruption.

Before President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Raila Odinga arrived Friday, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji set the ball rolling when he hit out at suspended officials who use the courts to get back their jobs.

CHARGE SHEET

“They are shameless to appear in public. Someone gets back in office and computers disappear. What do you expect?” Mr Haji asked.

In December, the DPP lost his bid to stop National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri from accessing his office.

Dr Swazuri had been charged alongside former Kenya Railways MD Atanas Maina over a land compensation scandal.

The NLC chairman, who was present as Mr Haji spoke, was on the spot when a computer containing vital data in his case went missing last month.

On Friday, Chief Justice David Maraga hit back at Mr Haji, denying claims that cases are deliberately delayed by judges.

Mr Maraga blamed prosecutors for tabling cases without tangible evidence or deliberately weakening them.

“We cannot win the war by engaging in Friday arrests and blame-games. Mr Haji … look at the way you craft cases. You list 30 people in one charge sheet and every one of them has 30 lawyers.

How long will such a case take? Such a case will drag. You will continue to blame the Judiciary,” Mr Maraga said, adding that cases are killed at the investigation phase.

The CJ also blamed Parliament for underfunding the Judiciary.

He said while the Judiciary asked for Sh31 billion, it got less than half the figure.

DRUG LORDS

Mr Kenyatta and the National Assembly and Senate Speakers were at the conference when Mr Maraga spoke.

The President reminded Mr Maraga that the courts refused to allow the passage of a law regulating bloggers.

The CJ would then be on the receiving end over the courts failing to convict Mombasa drug lords who were extradited to the US “yet they remained free in Kenya for years”.

Mr Odinga hit at National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi for defending MPs “greed”.

Mr Muturi had blamed the media for “lying” over MPs raising their pay, saying it was not possible “since it is the work of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission”.

“Didn’t they say that Parliament is independent and it doesn’t want to deal with SRC? They have many ways of increasing their pay through allowances and benchmarking trips. Mr Muturi is being economical with the truth,” Mr Odinga said.

Speakers criticised leaders who donate money in churches “to win public support or launder what they acquire in unclear circumstances”.

Mr Ruto, who said he is ready for a lifestyle audit, said the media have analysed his wealth and “wondered” why focus is not on other officials.

By Daily Nation

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