Speaker Muturi leads call for Repatriation of ill-gotten wealth at the 8th UN Anti-Corruption Forum in Abu Dhabi
The Kenyan delegation to the Eighth (8th) Session of the Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption has strongly urged counterpart Member States to facilitate a mechanism for the repatriation of ill-gotten wealth stashed abroad, but whose repatriation has been greatly hampered by lack of policies that support this remedy in the fight against graft.
The delegation during its participation in side meetings and the plenary of the conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, underscored the place of effective collaboration between countries to return monies stolen by corrupt government officials, but who had been allowed to enjoy it in other countries for lack of mechanisms to have it returned to its rightful owners; the citizens from whom it was robbed.
Speaking during the Eighth Forum of Parliamentarians Against Corruption under the auspices of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi noted that for the war against graft to be won, state members must be willing to collaborate through mutual agreements noting that this would deal the vice a death blow.
Speaker Muturi who is attending the conference in his capacity as the Vice President of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption further observed that the recent asset recovery efforts by the government agencies fighting graft in Kenya had boosted the war, adding that the robust legal policing on the vice while placing war on graft on top of her legacy, Kenya was slowly generating dividends.
"Seizing of assets of people who cannot account for them is making corruption very expensive in Kenya. We need multilateral agreements between member states to ensure no one gets away with looted resources", he noted.
While highlighting the milestones that Parliament has made towards enhancing the anti-corruption crusade, Speaker Muturi noted that alongside the recently enacted laws to facilitate the war against graft, just before proceeding on long recess last week, the National Assembly ratified the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters to promote the exchange of information between State Parties on tax matters (without putting into prejudice the integrity of taxpayers). This, he submitted, is in support of efforts by countries to curb tax cheats and tax evadors from fleecing their economies.
Making his contribution in the same forum, Nyando MP, Jared Okelo strongly castigated some wealthy nations for hindering the efforts of many developing nations to return looted wealth stashed overseas, thus denying their citizenry an opportunity to punish agents of graft.
" Corruption is transnational, thus nations must come out strongly to cooperate on the fight on corruption.There are certain countries that have developed cold feet when it comes to repatriation of proceeds of graft", he noted.
Hon. Okelo called on member states to strengthen whistleblowing but quickly urged for countries to institute measures to infuse integrity among whistle blowers.
Both the Speaker and Hon.Okelo hailed the ruling by High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi which stipulates that Public Officers charged with corruption stay away from office till their cases are determined had boosted anti-corruption efforts by the government.
The forum also identified public participation as a key ingredient to winning the war on corruption and urged for its adoption by member states to the Convention.
Ms. Miliana Ramatanivai, a panelist from Fiji however challenged Parliaments across the world to endear the youth to Parlimentary business by conducting civic education on legislative proposals in a language they can understand. She cited bill digests by legislatures as one way of enhancing public participation by the youth in the legislative process.
During the General Assembly of the conference yesterday, Kenya's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Kariuki Mugwe, while issuing a statement on behalf of the Kenyan Government, submitted that Kenya has put in place a robust legal, policy, institutional and administrative anti-corruption framework which is aligned to the UN Convention adding that the country had capable institutions created pursuant to the constitution and with particular focus on prevention strategies.
Noting that Kenya had placed the corruption agenda at the forefront of the administration's legacy pursuit, he informed the Assembly that anti-corruption agencies had secured increased incidents of arrests and prosecution of high ranking government officials previously deemed untouchable.
He also noted that seizing of assets worth millions of shillings belonging to public officials who cannot account for the wealth had proven to be an effective tool for prevention of corruption.
With regard to recovery of assets which has taken centre stage during the conference deliberations, Ambassador Kariuki noted that the government had signed up agreements for Mutual Legal Assistance that has seen the repatriation of proceeds of crime held outside Kenya; extradition of suspects and the receipt of key evidence to support both local and international based graft cases.
Later today, on the sidelines of his official engagements at the UN Conference , Speaker Muturi visited the Kenyan Embassy in Abu Dhabi where he met and interacted with the staff led by Ambassador Kariuki Mugwe.
The 4-day biennial conference which is coordinated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ends on Friday when Member States are expected to among others adopt innovative and practical methodologies to raise public awareness in integrity as well as develop ideas to combat graft across the globe.
During the conference it was revealed that globally, $2.6 trillion is lost through corruption and $1trillion lost through bribery, comprising a total of more than 5% of the global GDP.