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Actions Required To Turn Around War Against Corruption
In This Country Are Quite Draconian

Coastweek -- Last week we talked about the feeling that Kenya of heading to where Nigeria and Tanzania were several years ago in terms of corruption, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

We also gave an example where street hawkers formed themselves into an almost bribery co-operative whereby they would pay cops a “small fee” to retain cars in a jam so that they could have sufficient time to hawk their produce and wares.

This week we look at a more sophisticated corruption process – one that we call policy corruption.

However, before we get there an example of the weird and wonderful ways one comes across the force and strength corruption in this country. .

Kachumbari told me of this incredible though true story from a very senior executive in an oil company that happened several years ago.

This CEO had been tipped off about fuel adulteration and siphoning at a location within one of the major towns in Kenya.

The whistle blower gave all the details and left it to the CEO to decide whether to reward them or not.

The fellow set up a small tight team of three people to investigate the allegation.

An investigative security company was engaged to verify the facts and they did actually verify that what had been alleged by the whistle blower was true.

Rather than do an immediate sting operation, the CEO advised her team to gather sufficient evidence to create a case and also to study in detail what was going on and what was the spread of the team that was involved in the operation.

The agency set up a covert operation that hired several residences and offices surrounding the location where this adulteration and siphoning operation was being carried out.

They set up video cameras, still cameras and sensitive sound recording equipment.

They then started recording the daily goings on at this location.

This they did for three months working round the clock.

They also planted a couple of people into the operation after the first month and once they understood how the system worked.

In fact the plants were existing government under cover agents who were completely unknown to the rest of the team.

After that period there was sufficient evidence to convict even the most seasoned criminal.

The investigative agency then got a couple of lawyers to edit the evidence they had and put together a prosecutable case.

This evidence was digitally documented and several hard copies of the report were also prepared.

This dossier was presented to the CEO of the oil company. It presented such a compelling case that the CEO called her seniors abroad, briefed them and got the buy in to go public.

With this assurance, she then called a group of so called investigative journalists and briefed them on what she had found.

They agreed to keep everything under wraps for a few days as they also got one of the larger media houses to set up a civilian television sting operation.

On the appropriate day, as the media house went to carry out their civilian sting, the CEO of the company also went to see the most senior boy in blue that she could find (and she found one at the second level from the C-suite).

As she was presenting her findings and handing over the evidence, the civilian sting by the TV crew was being carried out.

A few minutes after leaving the cop shop, as she was heading back to her office, the CEO got an anonymous call on her cell phone from a so called land line.

She was told by the caller that they were aware of what she had been up to and that she should now know that she would be the target of some form of action by the caller and his team should she persist in pursuing the course of action she had started.

This operation shows how far the rot of corruption has crept into the enforcement agencies in this country.

An honest CEO had set up a very comprehensive investigation that she thought was going to please the top brass amongst the boys in blue. Instead she got threats within minutes of leaving the office of a high ranking official.

If that was the kind of outcome a senior business leader got what about the average mwananchi?

It is such examples that tell us that the actions required to turn around the war against corruption in this country are quite draconian and we should not underestimate how strong the networks that support the corruption movements are.

Whichever way one turns, one will find that corruption is aided and abetted by people in high up places and that the networks that have been set up are so strong that it will take the combined will and collaboration of a large number of honest and nationalistic Kenyans to start making any inroads into this vice.

Are we ready as a country to start this battle?

Do we have the balls to see this battle through?

As Kachumbari says, bravery is required in whatever war or battle you take on?

The fight against corruption is not for the faint hearted.

Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !

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