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How China is living a lie and ‘exporting corruption’ to Kenya – Politics – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • While corruption is frowned upon at home it seems the second biggest economy in
    the world does not mind ‘exporting it to other parts of the world’, especially
    developing countries.
  • Chinese
    and Israeli companies are among international contractors who regularly bribe
    Kenyan officials to win lucrative multi-billion shilling public infrastructure
    contracts, a new report by global corruption watchdog Transparency
    International (TI) has revealed.
  • Chinese
    firms have in recent years tightened their grip on cash-rich infrastructure
    projects in Kenya, including various roads and the multi-billion shilling
    Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

China has one of the most severe capital punishment for corruption with any official caught engaging in the vice summarily sentenced to death by execution.

Last
year, China executed more people than the rest of the world combined, according
to Amnesty International.

Under the
leadership of Xi Jinping, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has launched an
anticorruption campaign that has netted hundreds of thousands of officials.


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Chinese President Xi Jinping (Citizen TV)

 

Last
year, 16 senior Chinese leaders were convicted of bribery, including the nation’s
former security czar Zhou Yongkang.

However,
while corruption is frowned upon at home it seems the second biggest economy in
the world does not mind ‘exporting it to other parts of the world’, especially
developing countries.

Away from
home Chinese officials are left to do as they please and can get away with
anything, including corruption.

One such
place where Chinese officials have in recent years turn it into their playing
field and engage in high-level corruption cases without abandon and walk scot
free without as much as a slap on the wrist if ever caught is Kenya, China’s
third largest foreign debtor in Africa.


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Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past event. (Kenya Crazy Media)

 

Chinese
and Israeli companies are among international contractors who regularly bribe
Kenyan officials to win lucrative multi-billion shilling public infrastructure
contracts, a new report by global corruption watchdog Transparency
International (TI) has revealed.

TI says
bribery of Kenyan officials by Chinese firms has over the years continued
unabated, partly because African governments are not enforcing the existing
anti-bribery laws.

While China has criminalised the bribery of
foreign public officials, in line with obligations under the UN Convention
against Corruption, there has been no known enforcement against foreign corrupt
practices by its companies, citizens and or residents,”
the TI says in the report, which seeks to assess
progress of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD)
anti-bribery convention.

Also read: CHINA HAS BANNED THIS MINORITY GROUP FROM EVER VISITING KENYA


play

A Chinese investor speaking Hon. Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development. (Business Today)

 

The
report went further to say Chinese bribery of foreign officials has continued
despite the fact that its companies and individuals have been the subject of
publicly reported investigations and charges in numerous countries, including
Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, the United States and Zambia.

“Runaway
graft in public contracting is robbing taxpayers of value for money in publicly
funded projects because they mostly result in poor workmanship.

This
inaction has anchored corruption as the main driver of contracting systems in
Kenya
,” said
Samuel Kimeu, the TI Kenya executive director.

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Mr Kimeu
added that failure to act on reported corruption cases has
become a matter of great concern given the high cost of irregularly awarded
contracts, adding that many of the local contracts are being awarded to proxies
who then transfer them to foreign companies at a fee resulting in exaggerated
costing.


play

Transparency international Executive Director Samuel Kimeu. (the star)

 

Chinese
firms have in recent years tightened their grip on cash-rich infrastructure
projects in Kenya, including various roads and the multi-billion shilling
Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

On
February 20th 2018, top Kenyan transport ministry officials were in the
spotlight for alleged involvement in shady procurement deals with Shikun &
Binui, an Israeli construction firm.

The
incident attracted the attention of Israeli Police who began probing former
senior managers at Shikun & Binui, on suspicion that they were involved in
bribery of public officials in Kenya to win lucrative tenders.

The probe
saw Israeli investigators raid the company’s offices in Kenya and freeze some
of its bank accounts.


play

Parliamentary building, Kenya. (The New York Times)

 

Kenya
last year enacted a law criminalising bribery and with severe penalties,
including a Sh5 million fine for convicted executives and a 10-year embargo on
their firms.

The law,
which is modelled on the UK’s Bribery Act, seeks to punish private sector
bribery, especially in their dealings with government.

However,
so far no Chinese official has been arrested for engaging in corruption despite
multiple Chinese companies being embroiled in contracting litigation in Kenyan
courts.


play

Chinese and Kenyan officials pose for photos after the completion of Standard Gauge Railway Ngong Tunnel. (Twitter)

 

While
singling out China as the ‘world’s
leading exporter of corruption,

the TI insists stringent punishment of Chinese officials implicated in graft
will change the trend.

“(China)
should acknowledge the influence of its companies in terms of how they conduct
business in foreign markets,”
the TI
report says.

It
remains to be seen whether the damning report will rein in corrupt Chinese
firms and officials in Kenya or it will be business as usual.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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