NAIROBI, (Reuters) – Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga slammed the country’s “pathetic” anti-corruption bodies yesterday, accusing them of obstructing government efforts to fight the scourge of east Africa’s biggest economy.
Investors cite corruption as a major deterrent to doing business in Kenya, which has otherwise been one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most attractive spots for foreign money.
An angry Odinga told reporters the year-old coalition government, which he formed with President Mwai Kibaki to end post-election violence last year, was committed to zero tolerance but had inherited years of massive graft.
“It is not possible to undo all the ills of 45 years in a moment…Investigations must take place quietly, this necessary silence should not be mistaken for inactivity,” he said.
Corruption flourished in Kenya during former President Daniel arap Moi’s 24-year rule, and has continued under his successor Kibaki’s first government, then the coalition.
Odinga said the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), police, state law office and the judiciary were major obstacles.
“I have seen that inexcusable delays in the investigation, prosecution and determination of corruption cases (are) often deliberate, to shield the accused,” he said in a speech.
Since 2003, when the KACC was established, the attorney general’s office has had 60 convictions, 69 acquittals, and 70 discharges while 225 cases are pending in court, Odinga said.
“It is a pathetic record by the attorney general’s office and the entire judicial system. We cannot hope to contain corruption while our judicial system is so inadequate,” he said.