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Kenyan Parliament Urged to Act on Corruption


The anti-corruption group Transparency International - Kenya has urged Kenya's parliament to debate and act on a report alleging the involvement of the vice president and senior ministers in a corruption scandal.

The report was presented to parliament Thursday by the Public Accounts Committee.

The committee provided details of the so-called Anglo Leasing affair, a multi-million dollar scam set up several years ago in which the government was to award contracts to fictitious companies supplying security services.

The report alleges that Vice President Moody Awori gave his approval to the project and allegedly misled investigators and lawmakers.

Other officials allegedly involved in the scandal include former justice minister Kiraitu Murungi, former finance minister David Mwiraria, former roads minister Chris Murungaru, Attorney General Amos Wako, and public service head Francis Muthaura.

The executive director of Transparency International - Kenya, Mwalimu Mati, outlined what should happen next.

"It's been tabled. We're happy, but we're hoping that parliament will have the will to debate it on a non-partisan basis, to debate it on the basis that it raises questions about the vice president, the attorney general, the head of the cabinet office because here we're talking about probably the biggest corruption scandal of the 21st century, at least for Kenya," he said.

Mati warns that, if there is no serious debate and resolution of the issues raised in the committee's report, then the public will no longer recognize parliament as a legitimate institution.

Details of the Anglo Leasing scandal have been trickling out in the media over the years. Several months ago, former anti-corruption boss John Githongo revealed a damning dossier on the scandal.

Since then, two ministers resigned their posts, but Awori has refused to step aside, claiming that he knew nothing about Anglo Leasing and that he has done nothing wrong.

Peter Odoyo is a member of Kenya's parliament. He tells VOA a similar report outlining details of the Anglo Leasing scandal was presented to, and rejected by, parliament last year.

Odoyo says this time around, he thinks parliament will take the report seriously due to increased public pressure and more details that have emerged from investigations.

"This is a major loophole in the whole public finance system where people in the public sector can go in and effectively loot the coffers of this country with impunity. So this time I can say that we have received a copy, everyone has been advised to read it in detail and have some detailed comments," he said.

The scandal is the latest to hit Kenya's government. Central Bank governor Andrew Mullei was suspended Thursday pending his trial for allegedly awarding lucrative contracts without following proper procedures.

On Wednesday, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria warned that Kenya might lose some $100 million, because the government allegedly failed to account for millions of dollars in funding.