The US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has said the country loses in excess of Sh800 billion annually through corruption.
He said the US was committed to fight the vice if the Government shows its commitment adding that corruption was making people poorer through the stagnated economy.
Mr McCarter said the money that is lost through corruption scandals deprives Wananchi of their right to access fundamental basic needs like affordable healthcare, quality education and clean water to drink.
The ambassador was speaking at Ebuchinga Primary School in Lurambi constituency on Saturday where he said Kenya may fail to implement its Big Four Agenda should the Government fail to tame the runaway corruption.
“We don’t want to see cosmetic prosecutions of individuals who have stolen the tax payers’ money. We want to see convictions so as to serve as a deterrent measure to the rest. The government must ensure what they stole is recovered upon conviction,” said Mr McCarter.
He also appealed to the Kenyan communities to stop defending ‘their people’ mentioned in corruption-related scandals; they were nurturing the young generation into a bad nation in future.
“We are making the young people in the country think that corruption is the only way someone can use to get rich. We must take war on corruption seriously by punishing ‘thieves’ who steal from the poor to become rich,” said the ambassador.
McCarter also lambasted legislators for developing a cold feet in the war against corruption and instead defending those involved in the vice.
“Parliamentarians are a big setback in the war against corruption as a result of having conflict of interest in some of the cases. They interfere with the process and investigators end up missing in getting crucial evidence that can help in convicting the suspects,” said McCarter.
The ambassador said anyone adversely mentioned in any corruption scandal irrespective of the positions they hold in society must step down and pave way for investigations.
His sentiments were echoed by Lurambi MP Titus Khamala who said sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) should ensure the suspects they present to court for prosecutions are convicted.
“We don’t want to see cosmetic prosecutions when it comes to the war on corruption. We want to see suspects being convicted and what they stole being recovered and not the normal dramas of arresting suspects in full glare of cameras. That’s pure public relations,” said Bishop Khamala.
Khamala said if people will be convicted, it will serve as a deterrent measure to the rest and even to the students in school, saying they will know that corruption is like a death sentence and won’t be involved in it when holding senior government positions.
Kakamega Women Representative Elsie Muhanda and area Senator Cleophas Malala urged the Director of Public Prosecutions to tighten the war on corruption, saying as elected leaders, they are fully behind him.
US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter greeting students at Ebuchinga Primary school during the World Literacy Day celebrations. Looking on is Lurambi MP Titus Khamala (checked shirt) on September