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Jumamosi, Juni 03, 2023 Local time: 08:37

Kenya's President Vows Corruption Crackdown on Banks, Officials

FILE - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers remarks at the opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, July 25, 2015.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday vowed to introduce anti-graft legislation, blacklist officials, and strip licenses from banks violating money laundering rules, as part of a fresh crackdown on corruption in the East African nation.

Public frustration in the nation of 44 million people has mounted in recent months over the failure to prosecute top officials accused of graft, raising pressure on Kenyatta, who says it is a top priority for his government.

The president warned that theft by government officials was hurting Kenya's economic development and promised to improve the investigation of graft and increase prosecutions.

"I will lead a national coordinated effort ... to reverse perverse incentives that lead to corruption, close the loopholes that dishonest officials use to steal and to tighten our legislation work," Kenyatta said in a televised speech.

Kenyatta spoke after Bob Collymore, chief executive of Kenya's telecoms biggest telecoms firm Safaricom, presented him with a proposed anti-bribery bill drafted by the private sector.

Among new measures, Kenyatta said all businesses would have to sign up to an ethics code and that companies and officials violating the code would be blacklisted for at least five years.

"The government will not engage in business with companies with blacklisted members," Kenyatta said.

He added that banks would lose their licenses if they violated anti-money laundering regulations and said there would be no tax rises in the next financial year.

"I'm of the mind, fellow Kenyans, that we in government should take better care of your money before we ask for your taxes and we are therefore going to insist that we have no increase in overall government tax in the next financial year," he said.