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Kenya craps whip on rampant public office corruption

CAJ News Africa
Wednesday May 24, 2023

President William Ruto during his swearing-in ceremony. Getty Images

NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – A PROBE into corruption in the procurement of mosquito nets and irregular release of 500 tons of imported sugar represent a major step in the fight against corruption by the new government in Kenya.

The government of President William Ruto came into power last August on a campaign to rid East Africa’s biggest economy of graft.

One of the probes is into the US$27 million tender for mosquito nets, which the Global Fund had commissioned the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) to handle.

The tender was eventually cancelled after allegations the tender was corruptly awarded.

Ruto has sacked Public Health Principal Secretary, Josephine Mburu, following the allegations.

KEMSA also came under fire for misappropriation of funds intended for the procurement of personal protective equipment at the height of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, some 27 civil servants have been fired after allegedly misappropriating the industrial sugar that was earlier declared unfit for consumption. The Kenya Bureau of Standards discovered it had been contaminated with harmful bacteria.

It had to be converted into industrial ethanol but corrupt officials sold it to a trader, who repackaged and sold the sugar.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) applauded Ruto for the steps he had taken on the “two heinous economic and health crimes against the people of Kenya.”

“These cases must be audited diligently and urgently and all those found to be culpable should be prosecuted,” said Carole Kariuki, CEO of KEPSA.

She added KEPSA had been at the forefront of fighting corruption in Kenya, including initiating the development of the Bribery Bill and sponsoring it through Parliament for passing into law.

“We also joined efforts with the government under the multi-agency initiative in the fight against illicit trade involving counterfeits and substandard goods and services between 2018 and 2020.”

In Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, Kenya scored 32 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). It ranked 123rd among the 180 countries in the index. The country ranked first is perceived to have the most honest public sector.


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