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Kenya Anti-Graft Czar Denies Political Interference

PLO Lumumba, director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC)
PLO Lumumba, director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC)

The top official of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) has denied suggestions that political interference is thwarting his organization’s mandate to investigate public officials accused of corruption.

PLO Lumumba said since he took office eight months ago, he has not received any phone call from any quarter telling him not to investigate.

“As a credible body, we have a duty to discharge our mandate without fear or favor and we have demonstrated that,” he said

Lumumba called on Kenyans to join the anti-corruption effort.

He denied suggestions that some of the commission’s investigations are fraught with ethnic inclinations.

”In quite a number of cases when we begin to investigate, then the very same Kenyans some of them say their tribes are being finished.” said Lumumba. “Kenyans must take a solemn vow that they are going to be warriors in the fight against corruption.”

Lumumba’s comments came after a government investigation revealed that about 4.2 billion shillings ($46,979,867.66) earmarked for the “free school money” (program), and the procurement of essential medicine in public hospitals was allegedly embezzled by officials at the education ministry.

Presenting the audit report to Kenya’s police, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta alleged that senior officials at the Education Ministry’s conspired to swindle the government while manipulating records to hide the alleged theft.

Lumumba said Education Minister Sam Ongeri and a number of his colleagues should resign and pave the way for what he calls a holistic investigation into the alleged embezzlement.

“That will be useful for us as an investigating body because it will create an environment where junior officers can be interrogated in an environment of freedom in the absence of fear,” said Lumumba.

The commission head also called on President Mwai Kibaki to remove the education minister as well as other “high ranking officials” if they refuse to resign.

Professor Ongeri has maintained innocence and is expected to issue a statement soon regarding the Free Primary Education Scandal.