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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

BBC > UK's Kenya envoy in fresh attack

UK's Kenya envoy in fresh attack
Britain's high commissioner to Kenya has launched a fresh attack on corruption there, alleging the "massive looting" of public funds.
Edward Clay made headlines last July, lambasting President Mwai Kibaki's government for failing to tackle graft.
But in a speech to journalists on Wednesday, he said he underestimated the scale of the problem.
He said Kenyan officials were collaborating with foreigners to steal many millions of dollars.
"We are not talking about minor corruption. We are talking about massive looting and/or grand corruption which in toto has a huge impact on Kenya's economy," he said at Kenya's Journalist of the Year awards.
"People outside Kenya... manipulate people inside Kenya, near to or actually in the government, with an ease and confidence which is frightening."
Funding resumed
Mr Kibaki vowed to tackle widespread corruption when he was elected in December 2002, but there have been no high level prosecutions.
Kenya was ranked 122 out of 133 countries in a corruption survey by Transparency International in 2003.
Donors, who stopped lending to Kenya under previous President Daniel arap Moi, reopened cash channels under Mr Kibaki.
But they have criticised the lack of progress and threatened to cut off funds once more.
One of the recent scandals involved a deal for the Kenyan government to buy equipment from a front company.
The project fell through before $41.5m could be handed over. No one involved in the scam has been prosecuted.
After Mr Clay's allegations in July, the government said it had fought corruption by sacking corrupt police officers and forming a department of ethics and good governance.
It summoned Mr Clay to "give facts and figures and to name names".
He has since given a dossier to the Kenyan president that he says details corruption and fraudulent procurement worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
He said those suspected of involvement in corruption, including government ministers, should be removed so that investigations are not hindered.
"If the herdsman... finds a leopard has entered the boma [homestead], he will first eject the leopard before seeing what damage it has done," he said.
"He cannot... hope to assess the damage while the leopard is still there."
Story from BBC NEWS:

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