Looters should invest locally – Kenyan Auditor-General urges
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has termed illicit financial flows a threat to development especially among developing nations.
She is now calling for the initiation of a campaign that will see all stolen monies invested in the country of origin as investigations continue with an aim of holding culprits accountable.
“Perhaps we should start a campaign that says if you steal it and you are able to get away with it, invest it in the country where it is stolen. If you steal it from Kenyans, invest it in Kenya. It sounds very strange, but perhaps we could then see development taking place in our country and then later we ask the questions, where did you get it from?”
She spoke at a Nairobi hotel Tuesday during the launch Transparency International Kenya (TI) new Strategic Plan 2022-2028 that is guided by four strategic areas of focus namely Citizen demand and accountability, Natural resources and climate governance, Public Finance Management and Institutional development.
Several leaders in Kenya have been accused of stealing money and stashing it abroad in a move that has denied the country the much needed resources to stimulate development.
“If there was no safe space to hide, to stash or to invest and thereby giving legitimacy for laundry services to illicit financial flows, where would this illegally acquired and stolen money be kept?” posed Gathungu who indicated that as Auditor Generals from the African continent, they have resolved to carry out joint and coordinated audits in this area.
Noting that corruption in Kenya has a severe negative impact on the poor and the most vulnerable in the society as it leads to increased costs and reduces access to quality services including health, education and access to justice, the Auditor General was of the view that a lot still needs to be done to ensure that only programmes and projects that are citizen-centred are budgeted for, as opposed to budgeting for corruption.
“Corruption and lack of accountability has negatively affected our progress towards the attainment of our national development plan and Kenya’s blueprint on development, Vision 2030 and more so the prioritized critical areas that speak to the very lives and livelihoods of the citizens.”
She made the remarks few weeks after TI in its latest findings showed that Kenya slightly improved in the global corruption index.
The global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption ranked Kenya at 123 out of 180 countries and territories assessed with a score of 32 out of 100, a slight improvement from a score of 30 points in 2021.
Kenya’s score of 32 points matched the Sub-Saharan average score of 32 but fell below the global average score of 43.
According to TI, a score below 50 indicates serious levels of public sector corruption.
The improvement was attributed sustained efforts in developing policies, laws and building institutions towards the implementation of the 2010 Constitution specifically accountability-focused provisions.
Rwanda topped the East African region with 51 points compared to 53 points in 2021, Tanzania 38 from 39, Uganda 26 from 27 and Burundi has 17 from 19 points.
South Sudan was ranked last both regionally and globally scoring 13 points from 11 points in 2021.
Countries that scored above the global average from the African region included Seychelles with 70 points, Botswana and Cape Verde tied at 60 points.