ODM will never support graft: Raila

ODM Party’s track-record in fighting corruption is firm, well documented and will never support the vice in all manifestations and regardless of who is involved, the party’s leader Raila Odinga says.

Raila’s statement this morning came in the wake of sentiments that his party was abetting  Kenya Medical Supplies Agency  Covid-19 funds scandal.

He said the Orange party had not reneged on the fight against corruption and had a clear-cut approach against the vice was recommending the same strategy to the Jubilee government in the Kemsa probe.

“The position of the party in the current allegations of corruption in Covid-19 related resources is that the government needs to conduct a thorough and urgent audit of all the funds that have been put at the disposal of various state agencies, departments and ministries to fight the pandemic with a view to establishing the facts on the usage of such resources,” he said.

Odinga defended his party citing past campaigns against the vice.

He cited the probe on the sale of Grand Regency Hotel, Maize Scandal and Anglo Leasing Scandal as some of the instances that his party played a pivotal role.

He said: “ODM has always advocated this systematic approach to fighting corruption. In the Grand Coalition Government, the party successfully pushed for the systematic audit of the sale of Grand Regency Hotel and attendant consequences. ODM pushed for the systematic audit of Anglo Leasing Scandal by Kroll and Associates, leading to appropriate legal action on culprits.”

“When the Maize Scandal erupted, ODM pushed for the appointment of Pricewater House Coopers to audit the matter, leading to appropriate action against culprits. A special audit also led to convictions in the Sh283 million Nairobi cemetery scam.”

The former premier also touched on the National Youth Service scandal of 2016 and the Arror and Kimwarer scandal as the instances in which systemic coordinated investigations revealed the amounts of money Kenyans lost in the dubious deals.

“This approach has worked well in the recent past. In the case of Arror and Kimwarer dams, the truth was established when the Auditor-General conducted a special audit of the Sh60 billion dams whose procurement and financing had caused public outrage,” he stated.

“A similar approach worked with regard to the National Youth Service scam where in 2016, the office of the Auditor General was able to establish that Kenyan taxpayers lost Sh1.9 billion in the scandal and proceeded to identify the principal beneficiaries of the theft. On the basis of that audit, suspects were arraigned in court.”

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna had earlier rubbished reports on the mishandling of Kemsa funds. [File, Standard]

Leaders trading barbs

He has called on politicians to stop venting their anger on social media and to let the investigative agencies to probe the matter.

His party came under fire after secretary-general Edwin Sifuna issued a statement terming reports on Kemsa scandal sensationalised unsubstantiated claims.  What ensued was a hard-hitting response from the Deputy President William Ruto accusing ODM leaders of a cover-up.

“The pretentious (former) opposition, now turned Lords of corruption, attempted defence of the Covid-19 grand larceny is not shocking. It confirms the worst of Kenyan’s fears that their side of the handshake was never interested in the people’s good but opportunity to loot. What a shame,” he tweeted on Saturday.

But to this, Mr Odinga reacted: “ODM will not defend anyone, including members or relatives and friends of its officials, found to have benefitted from funds and other resources meant for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.”

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