By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
President Uhuru Kenyatta is under immense pressure to walk the talk in crackdown on graft following a revelation of a multi-billion dams scandals, described as Kenya’s biggest scam since the Goldenberg scandal of the 1990s.
The Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General has asked the Head of the State to crack a whip on the individuals implicated in corruption or risk mass action from Kenyans.
Speaking during the 30th anniversary of Pan-African Trade Unions, Atwoli attributed the slow economic growth to the menace. He threatened to spearhead citizens to storm offices of all corrupt leaders in case the President leaves them to roam freely.
“We cannot sit and watch our children languish in poverty, they cannot afford a meal, and they cannot go to school, when a few individuals have sets and sets of choppers or helicopters at their disposal. We will rise, organize ourselves and face them,” reiterated the vocal boss.
Elsewhere, former Governor William Kabogo challenged the President not to spare anyone linked to graft by the investigative agencies saying it is the only way to regain public confidence in his administration which is currently at its lowest.
The ex-Kiambu boss told Mr. Kenyatta to sack and blacklist all government officials linked to corruption scandals from working in public institutions. He advised the government to freeze bank accounts of the suspects as well as auctioning their property to recover the stolen money.
“It’s time for Uhuru to act on these corrupt officials who are stealing public money as Kenyans are suffering under their leadership,” said Kabogo.
The sentiments came barely three days after the Amani National Congress party leader slammed the government for what he termed as empty rhetoric about war against corruption instead of arresting and prosecuting those culpable.
“The thieves have become so daring that it must now be understood that this government believes that corruption is part of the gains of being in government, “Mudavadi said.
Senior government officials led by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich are on the spot for allegedly misappropriating Kshs. 65 billion ($65 million), borrowed funds earmarked for the construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams in Elgeyo- Marakwet County, Rift Valley region.
Reports have revealed that the Treasury alongside some authorities paid a bankrupt Italian firm, CMC di Ravenna, Ksh.21 billion ($21 million) for the two dam project.
The projects were expected to begin in December 2017 but nothing has been done two years down the line despite billions of shillings having been set aside for the projects.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has George Kinoti revealed that the projects had not been designed noting they only exist on papers. He further divulged that the officials could have pocketed Kshs.4 billion ($4 million) as kickbacks.
According to Kinoti, the amount was disbursed by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to an Italian firm in 2017 but was rerouted to a bank in London before finding its way back to Nairobi. The fund was part of Ksh.6.3 billion ($6.3 million) wired to the construction company as down payment.
“We have the account number the money was sent to in London and Nairobi. We do not know why the money was being sent to Nairobi and that is part of our investigations,” said Mr. Kinoti.
The Italian company has confirmed that the money was taken back.
“The Italian contractors say they do not have money because it was taken away. They cannot explain,” added Kinoti.
The foreign lenders have reportedly penned a letter to the Treasury regarding payment of the loans, failure to which Kenya’s assets abroad risked being auctioned.
Several companies believed to be connected to the mega scam have been summoned by the investigate agencies as the probe gains momentum.
The main objectives of the projects were production of hydro-electricity and irrigation within the said region to assuage perennial challenges related to drought, boost food production and increase electricity megawatts to the national grid.