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Kenya's War on Graft Continues

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Michael Onyiego

The War on Graft has sent shockwaves through the Kenyan Parliament in recent months, with several ministers being targeted in high-profile investigations.  But Kenya’s anti-corruption body says more are on the way.

In recent months, Kenya’s notoriously corrupt public sector has received several wake-up calls as the so-called "War on Graft" sweeps through the halls of the country’s parliament.

In 2010, the Government of National Unity promised serious efforts to reform public life in the country Berlin-based Transparency International has ranked one of the world’s most corrupt.

But the coalition government may have received more than it bargained for, as several prominent Kenyan politicians find themselves under investigation by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission.

In the fall of last year, the likes of Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula and leading 2012 presidential hopeful William Ruto were forced to resign from Cabinet posts to make way for probes into alleged cases of fraud.  

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission ushered in the New Year with another case against former industrialization minister Henry Kosgey, for his alleged role in the illegal importation of vehicles into the country.  Kosgey is the Chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement, the party of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

But Corruption Chief P.L.O. Lumumba says the fight against graft is far from finished.  Lumumba announced late Tuesday that several major cases would reach the desk of the attorney general shortly.

"We expect that about between five to eight high-voltage files," said Lumumba.  "Holding all factors constant, [the cases] may very well find their way to the honorable attorney general."

The allegations involve yet another unnamed minister and the misuse of regional development funds issued by the central government.  In making his announcement, Lumumba described the charges as "very weighty" and promised to submit them to the proper authorities in the coming weeks.

Lumumba has moved faster than his predecessors in tackling Kenya’s rampant corruption, but his tenure has not been without criticism, especially in recent weeks.  All of Lumumba’s high-profile targets have come from the ranks of the opposition party.  Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) members are claiming unfair treatment.

Last week, ODM member Rachael Shebesh accused the anti-corruption body of passing over even bigger fish at the expense of the opposition.

"When will the big issues be dealt with?" asked Shebesh.  "When will Kenyans see Anglo-Leasing be dealt with?  When will we see issues of Goldenberg being completed?  When will we see issues of Triton being hit on the nail?"

Such claims have drawn criticism from the ruling Party of National Unity.  Lumumba has dismissed allegations of political tampering, insisting cases will be investigated by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission as they were reported.

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