NAIROBI – Kenya’s public prosecutor Noordin Haji on Friday ordered the immediate arrest and prosecution of Nairobi County Governor Gideon Mbuvi.
He said the governor and nearly a dozen senior Nairobi County officials face charges of unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes.
According to Haji, investigations by Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission found enough evidence to warrant arrest and prosecution of Mbuvi and his accused associates.
“In making this decision, the office of the director of public prosecution is cognizant of the principal of innocence ’til proven guilty, the determination which can only be made by a court of law,” Haji said. “The decision to charge is based on the evidence that is available … at the time the decision is made.”
Last month, Mbuvi tried to stop the Corruption Commission from investigating him but the courts declined to issue a temporary restrain order.
In Friday’s briefing, Haji warned Mbuvi’s supporters against any attempts to subvert the cause of justice.
“In recent times, we have seen that corruption fights back, and there have been blatant misguided attempts to intimidate, threaten and malign investigating officers and agencies,” Haji said. “We shall not allow such acts to go on and I have directed the law enforcement agencies to investigate any such attempts and upon establishment of evidence, additional charges shall be preferred against those perpetuating these acts.”
Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has in the past said that he will not relent in the fight against corruption until the country is swept clean of the practice.
For critics such as political analyst Herman Manyora, such comments sound like mere talk.
“Even all this drama around the arrest, where is a single conviction?” he asked. “Even in instances where people have owned up for having received money from National Youth Service, without having tendered for anything, they have admitted as much, they are not in jail. Where is the will? I am not convinced there is a will to fight corruption.”
In the slums of Nairobi, Mbuvi commands a lot of support because he has presented himself as a defender of the poor.
Sammy Oloo, who leads a garbage collection unit, blamed politics on the governor’s woes.
“He is the governor and he has tried, he is looking at all corners in Nairobi,” Oloo said. “The youth in Dandora, Kayole, Huruma are at work. They should instead support him to help the youth. That’s better than these politics, that they are playing for their own interests.”
Despite the vows by Kenyatta and his predecessors, corruption has remained deeply entrenched in Kenya for decades.
The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International listed Kenya as the 144th most corrupt country out of 180 in the world.
Source: Voice of America