African Press International (API)

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Former President of Philippines Estrada jailed for life: Kenya should be tough on corruption

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by SAMWEL KUMBA
Publication Date: 9/17/2007

Pressure is mounting on President Kibaki not to assent to the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill that seeks to cushion politicians from public scrutiny.

The Bill has been termed as containing many mischievous provisions designed to free politicians from being accountable to Kenyans.

The bad news for the thieves is that private prosecutions are possible and available for citizens in other jurisdictions. Italy, Spain, France and Britain have received such proceedings and this avenue is also open to Kenya, said non-govenmental organisations.

Yesterday, 31 NGOs urged the Government, through attorney general Amos Wakos office to repeal the amnesty clause passed in the Bill.

The NGOs faulted the performance of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) boss, Mr Justice Aaron Ringera, and told him to resign or be subjected to removal procedure under the law of incompetence.

They termed President Kibakis resolve to fight corruption when he took office as having not been implemented, accusing Parliament of now legitimising theft of the billions of shillings looted in the past 40 years before March 2003.

Miscellaneous Amendments Bills are intended to clean up existing statutes so as to make their objectives more explicit or make them operable. It cannot be allowed that MPs manipulate this process to render the original intent of the law null and void, read their statement in part.

They took a swipe at the Government for having previously misused the said miscellaneous procedure to undermine and manipulate the intent and spirit of the law.

Organisations represented

The organisations represented included National Convention Executive Council, Kenya Land Alliance, Covaw, Cradle, Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Cemiride, Centre for Governance and Development, Creaw, Release Political Prisoners, Ujamaa Centre, Kendren, Youth Agenda, International Commission of Jurists-Kenya, Clarion, Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change and Haki Focus.

The others were Umande Trust, East African Human Rights Institute, Haki Jamii, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Sorec, Muhuri, Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, Global Coalition Against Poverty and the Coalition of Young Kenyan Voters.

The Kenya Youth Community Empowerment Programme, Coalition for Common Sense Constitution, Mars Group Kenya and Africa Centre for Open Governance were also represented.

The NGOs claimed that more than Sh1 trillion had been looted. They identified some of the looting avenues as contractors pending bills (Sh89 billion), Anglo Leasing (Sh56 billion), Ken Ren Fertiliser (Sh6 billion), Kroll report (Sh130 billion), Goldenberg (Sh100 billion) and Charterhouse Bank (Sh70 billion).

The NGOs further claimed banks and public corporations where billions were looted and land grabbing as documented by the Ndungu report showed the extent of the plunder.

They accused MPs of moving to protect themselves from public scrutiny on their wealth declarations on the pretext of rendering them vulnerable to criminals.

They also accused the Government of insincerity in the fight against corruption.

The NGOs stated that as the Kenyan Parliament was passing the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill, which they have interpreted as unilateral forgiveness for past thieves, Joseph Estrada was jailed for life for his theft from the people of Philippines.

Mr Estrada, the former Filipino president, was found guilty by an anti-graft court more than six years after he was ousted from power, accused of among other things, receiving huge amounts of money from illegal gambling.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.nation.ke

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