Prosecute officials to win public trust

Date: 18 January 2017 12:31

In his New Year’s address to the nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised action against any government officials found culpable of the mismanagement of public funds at last year’s Rio Olympic Games.

The President was categorical that someone would be held to account for the Rio fiasco that saw the country lose of millions of shillings through sheer fraud and ineptitude.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has since found three top officials in the Ministry of Sport, Culture and the Arts with the greatest criminal culpability for, inter alia, authorising unlawful payments.

Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, Principal Secretary Richard Ekai and Mr Haroun Komen, a director of administration in the ministry, have been indicted and should face charges of abuse of office, neglect of duty and breach of public trust.

Naturally, these public officers must step aside once formally charged, just like five other Cabinet Secretaries and six Principal secretaries, who were forced to leave office after being named among 175 officials in the infamous “list of shame” tabled by President Kenyatta in Parliament in March 2015.

However, it is now heading to two years but we are yet to see any prosecutions and convictions. For this reason, we are not certain that the DPP’s directive on the Sports ministry officials will be effected or is just mere window dressing.

After all, the monumental graft in the Health ministry and the National Youth Service remains unpunished. It is such indifference that leads to lack of public trust in our legislative, judicial and executive arms of government that all appear helpless in the face of wanton pilfering of public resources.

While we welcome the DPP’s bold move in following up on the recommendations of the Rio Olympic Games Probe Committee, public confidence in the war against graft will only be won once we see people thrown into jail.

Any gesture to the contrary will reinforce the view that there is no desire anymore to fight corruption and that the vice is becoming institutionalised in public life.

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