The fight against corruption is unstoppable and will be painful to the perpetrators, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday.
He said the time for rhetoric is gone and it is now time for action.
The President said the anti-graft war is not about individuals, but against the vice and must target all perpetrators, including senior members of government.
In this sustainable war against vice, the President has brought all the anti-corruption agencies together and they are working in harmony “ for the first time in history”.
“From the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to the Director of Public Prosecutions; from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to the Assets Recovery Agency and Financial Reporting Centre, our anti-corruption institutions have shown unprecedented unity of action without any compromise of their constitutional independence”, said President Kenyatta
And there has been progress and results to show on the new drive, he added.
“More than 350 cases are in progress – and many relate to some of the highest-ranking members of Government. This is a war against corruption, not against the small fish”, the Head of State said.
The President challenged the judiciary to do its part to ensure the war on corruption is sustained and won.
“The judiciary has committed to matching our zeal in this struggle. It is time, now, for them to live up to that commitment”, said the President.
The Head of State spoke when he opened the United Nation Global Compact’s 17th Anti-Corruption Working Group Meeting and International Anti-Corruption Conference at a Nairobi Hotel.
The two-day conference will discuss the role of the private sector and whistle blowers in the fight against the vice, and the illegal killing and trade of wildlife, among other issues.
The President said since the government started the new war on corruption, there have been wide consultations with the private sector, resulting in the drafting of the Bribery Bill (drafted by the private sector) and which is at the Attorney General’s office and will later be presented to the National Assembly for debate.
That partnership, said the President, has also resulted in the new code of conduct for the business community to which the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) recently committed itself to and “ which Government is adopting as part of its regulations under our procurement law”, he said.
He asked the private sector, which has a direct stake in the success against corruption, to hold other sectors including international friends and partners to the same code when doing business.
“That means direct, unrelenting pressure to bring tax avoidance and tax evasion to an end”, he added.
Although corruption is not a peculiarly Kenyan problem , a perception created by the global media, the vice has reached levels that anger all Kenyans because the vice threatens the very foundation and trust on which the nation rests.
“Corruption threatens the trust which is at the heart of what it means to be Kenyan. That is why we are so incensed by it. That is why we must end it”, he said.
And without that trust, he pointed out, “we have neither an effective government nor a united country.
The President said untamed corruption had interfered with businesses operations , national examinations, availability of medicines and delivery of health care in hospitals and at worst, the radicalization of the youth.
“And if a radicalized young man can bribe his way to cross our borders, then we have reason to fear. If these habits continue, they will destroy all trust between Kenyans, and between them and their government”, he said.
The President said Kenyans must change their attitude and nurture a new way of life which is clean of corruption.
“Another attitude is possible. There is a better way”, he said and faulted cynics who plunge themselves into the vice on grounds that Kenyans will always be corrupt and cannot change.
“Some feel that corruption will always be with us. They think the dirt of corruption will never be wiped clean. They plunge themselves into the muck.
Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai said the country is entering a critical stage in the fight against corruption adding that he met with Swiss Prosecutors this morning to drive the Anglo-leasing cases which had dragged for 11 years.
Safaricom Chief Executive Office Bob Collymore said the firm will no longer conduct any business with companies blacklisted by the government over corruption.