Shield all Kenyan projects from graft 


President William Ruto and US President Joe Biden. FILE PHOTO | POOL

The ongoing trade negotiations between Kenya and the US have renewed the fight against corruption after the Biden administration put dealing with graft among the priorities in the engagements. 

According to the talks, the Kenyan government will be required to ensure that public officials charged with corruption stemming from America-funded projects and investments leave office.

The US has made public some details of the trade deals it has been thrashing out with President Ruto, revealing priority areas for investment and commerce and also showing measures that Americans will take to protect their billions from corruption rings.

To prevent the hiding of ill-gotten gains, the text also includes maintaining a register for companies to report beneficial ownership information.

In return, Kenya will ensure that laws against bribing public officials, embezzlement, and money laundering are implemented.

Kenya will also have to maintain records and books of accounts, be aggressive with the recovery of assets derived from bribery or corruption under the projects and provide corruption reporting channels protecting whistleblowers.

After being trained in spotting graft, public officials under US-funded projects will be expected to report conflict of interest or graft-related acts.

If implemented, Kenya will have the tools to stop pilferage of public resources. Kenya should adopt these strategies across all projects, including the Chinese-funded projects if the fight against graft will truly be won.

It is not lost to Kenyans that there are already several cases where Kenyan authorities have failed to bring to book corrupt Kenyans found to have taken bribes to award tenders to foreign companies, even when their global counterparts have been jailed.