An anti-corruption group established by Kenya’s government and the private sector is expected to soon present a report to President Uhuru Kenyatta, following concerns of endemic graft in public institutions, according to Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu.
Kenyatta recently acknowledged the challenge his administration faces to weed out graft after investors said corruption is a major challenge to doing business in the East African country.
“The thing about corruption that involves government is that it revolves around procurement, and procurement is between government who is procuring services and the private sector, which is supplying those services. So the president and the private sector alliance ... to put together this group in order to deal with the issues around procurement, perceived or real corruption,” said presidential spokesman Esipisu.
"[The group] has already begun its work, it has to report back within a week with tangible recommendations, and how to move forward in dealing with [graft] particularly in the area of procurement, which the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission says accounts for 70 percent of all corruption in Kenya.”
Opposition and civil society groups displeased with what they say is widespread corruption in public institutions have faulted the Kenyatta government’s failure to address the problem. They also said the administration in Nairobi appears to be ill prepared to resolve the challenge, despite repeated calls by Kenyans on all public and social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.
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Esipisu disagreed with the accusations, saying Kenyatta is serious about fighting graft. He also said the administration’s support for free press has enabled some of the alleged corruption issues to be made public.
“The president has always been committed that is not in question at all.He’s taken so many actions in that direction in the recent past.This is yet another action he’s taken. It is quite acknowledged that the president has been on this for a bit, fighting corruption is one of his major campaign issues,” said Esipisu.
"Kenya is a vibrant democracy with a free press. A lot of the cases we are hearing now you wouldn’t have heard about them 10 years ago, because you has no access. So, pretty much the president has fought for this greater openness, which is why we are hearing more of this coming out," he added. "But it does not reflect the fact that we are not fighting as hard as we should. The point is we are fighting as hard as we can, we are greatly committed to this, and we will continue to do so.”
Esipisu also said the government will work closely with international partners to address the problem of corruption, particularly in the procurement process.
“We continue to partner with the U.S. government, with the European Union, with others in Europe. Obviously, we would like to see a greater participating, especially where monies stolen from Kenya have been used to buy property abroad. So we would like to see some of those proceeds of illicit financing for instance some back to Kenya.That is the type of thing we would like to see,” said Esipisu.
"We continue to continue to partnering with similar minded governments in fighting corruption, fighting illicit financing, and fighting other illegalities that may happen within our shores and outside of them.”