EDITORIAL: Making the corrupt uncomfortable welcome

Anne Ngirita (right) and Phillis Ngirita at Milimani Law Court
NYS scandal suspects at Milimani Law Court on June 5,2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

Kenyans have been benumbed by incidents of corruption to the extent that they were no longer paying attention.

However, this has started to change given the latest dramatic revelation of corruption at the National Youth Service (NYS) and to a lesser extent the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

For NYS, what has caught the attention of the public are the dramatic tales of characters hauling sacks of cash from banks and lately, societal no-hoppers suddenly finding themselves in fabulous wealth.

In the case of NCPB, the unique angle has been farmers missing out on payments even as little known characters received millions. Suitably, the elite in the latter case had stepped on seriously sensitive toes, threatening to push the corruption fight to a new level.

In the midst of all that, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Judiciary and other law enforcement agencies were pledging to fight corruption—though few were convinced.


However, with current NYS prosecutions and the relatively harsh treatment, the public is starting to think there is an element of seriousness in the fight.

Previously, we were used to corruption suspects appearing at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters all smiles after a so-called grilling.

The courts have now started to take economic crimes with the seriousness they deserve by denying suspects bail despite it being a right.

We submit that having someone who stole millions roaming freely in itself threatens any fair investigations unless the suspect’s wealth is frozen. The current NYS trials are taking a direction that shows the Judiciary is concerned about the spirit of the law rather than just the letter.

The Executive at the same time has taken the drastic measure of suspending procurement officers.

They are now set for vetting, required to submit social media accounts, investment portfolios including chamas, shares, residential address and financial information of close relatives.

The demand by State House, that includes taking a lie detector, on the face of it looks draconian, but the truth is that the corrupt were getting so complacent. We welcome all the measures to make perpetrators fear corruption.