President challenges Judiciary to fast-track graft cases

By Eric Biegon and Margaret Kalekye

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday disclosed that assets acquired through corruption both locally and overseas have been frozen by the government.

The head of state made the revelation during his third State of the Nation address even as he challenged the judiciary to fast-track graft cases by reducing and eliminating what he termed as frivolous exploitation of legal technicalities to defeat the course of justice.

President Kenyatta made known that his administration has traced and is in the process of obtaining billions of cash acquired through fraud.

He read the riot act over complicity in graft, warning that there will be no sacred cows as efforts to banish the demons of corruption intensify.

He pointed out that Kenyans are justified to demand from the judiciary a tightened regime that is impatient with unwarranted delay.

“I understand the frustrations of those who feel that investigative and court processes have been manipulated by the corrupt in order to escape accountability, and delay and derail justice” he said.

“The judiciary has the funding and the requisite leadership. It must therefore play its rightful role” he stated, adding “ It must not be perceived to be helpless, a bystander, or complacent in this war that is a threat to our development and our security”.

Kenyatta vehemently refuted the narrative that his administration has lost the plot on how to defeat corruption, instead highlighting commitment to banishing sleaze outside the country’s borders.

“We have enhanced our cooperation with different jurisdictions through mutual legal assistance agreements. This means that hiding the proceeds of corruption will get more difficult, here at home and abroad. We will seek to prosecute the corrupt even if they seek refuge outside our borders” announced the President.

In a well-articulated speech, Kenyatta however charged that a definite victory against corruption can only be realized if institutions mandated to prosecute economic crimes deliver on their obligations.

Devolution

On devolution, Kenyatta underscored his government’s commitment to devolution, disclosing that KSh 1trillion to the 47 county governments as of financial year 2016/17.

He however took a swipe at leaders who have misappropriated the fund noting that a significant proportion of the funds transferred to the devolved units have not met the expectations Kenyans.

“Devolution was meant to be a mechanism that would ensure no areas were left behind. Instead, we see conspicuous consumption, self-aggrandisement, and wastefulness”.

He challenged Kenyans who are tax payers to demand  accountability from those who manage resources.

“I join the Kenyan people in demanding total accountability and better results. This is your money”.

He concluded his passionate address expressing confidence that the purge on corruption will in the end prevail.

He assured “These efforts are bearing fruit. This is demonstrated by the recent quick tracing and seizure of 400 million shillings of assets acquired through stolen National Youth Service funds. There has also been progress in the Jersey and Anglo-Leasing cases”.

 

  

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