By Judith Akolo
The US Government has given its word in support of the war on corruption in the country.
In a statement, US Ambassador Robert F. Godec said the US government will continue to work closely with the government in the fight against corruption.
Godec said the collaboration in the fight against corruption is in line with the “Joint Commitment to Promote Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kenya” made by President Obama and President Kenyatta on July 25 when President Obama visited Kenya.
“The United States will continue to use the full range of tools available to it, including Presidential Proclamation 7750 as appropriate, in the effort to help Kenya end this scourge,” said Ambassador Godec.
Under Proclamation 7750 the United States can deny visas to individuals engaged in or benefiting from corruption that has serious adverse effects on U.S. interests.
“This can include current or former public officials and private citizens,” said Godec in the statement sent to newsrooms and added, “This is one tool the U.S. Government has available to sanction individuals known to engage in corruption.”
The Ambassador explained that since 2004, under Presidential Proclamation 7750, the United States has denied visas to some Kenyan citizens for involvement in corruption.
The U.S. Embassy denied claims that it had released any names of alleged corrupt individuals, “the US Embassy has not released the names of any of the Kenyans who may be subject to the Presidential Proclamation and cannot respond to speculation about any individual,” said the terse statement.
“Under U.S. immigration law, information regarding individual visa applications and decisions is confidential and cannot be released.”
Late last month President Uhuru Kenyatta while receiving a special report on anti-graft measures and a proposed Anti-Bribery Bill prepared by the private sector said Kenya had opened a new chapter in the war against corruption in which every individual and organization had a role to play in the graft war.
The special report was presented to the President by National Treasury Henry Rotich while the proposed Anti-Bribery Bill was handed over by Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Chairman Dennis Awori.
The President termed corruption as a ‘standing threat to our national security’, and welcomed the concerted efforts by all sectors in the society to tackle the vice.
“This is the day that we as Kenyans are turning a new leaf in the war against corruption. Indeed as has been said before, this is not a battle that can be won by any singular individual or any singular sector – it must be multifaceted in how we approach it,” President Kenyatta said.
The President made it clear that the private sector must play their role in the war graft, saying 70 per cent of corruption in the country is in the procurement departments which do business with the private sector.
“Procurement departments involve none other than the private sector, because Government does not do business with itself, it does business with the private sector,” said the President.
He said religious leaders must also come on board in the anti-graft battle.
“They must come on board in terms of encouraging correct values and virtues amongst our citizens,” the President said.
He outlined a raft of measures that both the Government and the private sector will take to starve corruption and consign it to oblivion, saying the media also have a role in combating the vice.
“The media has a role in joining us and highlighting areas of corruption. We have agreed that they must also be accountable and give the relevant agencies the evidence required to prosecute the case because you cannot tame corruption unless you have evidence,” the President said.