The Sh60 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal has dominated public discourse for months. When the news broke, there was a flurry of activity with investigative agencies going all out to probe the matter and promising action.
Top government officials, including Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, were interrogated. Local detectives engaged international investigative agencies in a bid to unravel the puzzle. Then there was a lull and the public got concerned that the scandal risked being swept under the carpet and, with it, billions of shillings thrown down the drains.
At the time, the matter provoked public outrage and elicited strong political reactions. Some politicians felt the matter was being blown out of proportion; that it was being used to settle scores rather than tackle corruption.
They even rejected the figures being quoted in a calculated bid to downplay the rip-off.
Now, after months of waiting, the Auditor-General and investigators have concluded the probe, assembling what is understood to be concrete evidence to sustain court action. That is quite encouraging.
But there are concerns over taking the next step for fear of political fallout. And that’s the point of departure.
For us, the matter is straightforward. So long as the investigative agencies have concluded their work, which we believe, was professionally done, and have accumulated incontrovertible evidence, the next course of action is to present the information to the Director of Public Prosecution to occasion arrest of the suspects and take them to court to face criminal charges.
President Kenyatta has, on several occasions, called for speedy investigation of corruption cases and have suspects charged in court.
He has declared zero-tolerance to theft or misuse of public resources. Law enforcement agencies should have the confidence to progress and take the matter to court.
Institutions such as the DPP and the National Police Service are entrenched in the Constitution and have independence to function without recourse to the political establishment.
The DPP and Inspector-General of Police have constitutional protection with defined tenure and, hence, cannot be pushed around by anyone.
The case at hand presents an opportunity to slay the dragon of corruption. It’s a test of whether the investigators have the capacity to track down and demolish corruption networks and the mettle to try the suspects in court.
Corruption remains the single-most devastating vice that threatens to bring down the Jubilee administration. No effort should be spared to crush the networks. Suspects of the scandal must be named, charged and punished. All pending corruption investigations should be concluded and perpetrators penalised.
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