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Columnists

It’s time to reclaim our country

Kenya is ranked as a top global money laundering haven. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In 2015, I did an interview with Forbes Magazine where I mentioned how Kenya lost the Samsung assembly plant deal to Ethiopia because a government official had asked for a $1 billion kickback.

At the time, I received inquiries from three people who wanted to know the government official, none from journalists.

Two months ago, four years down the line, the same story in a mobile phone screenshot went viral again and this time I was bombarded with inquiries asking me to name the faces behind the missed deal.

Does it take Kenyans four years to get a wake-up call?

Aside from Kenyans’ unbothered and complacent attitude, the biggest travesty now is how the price of whistleblowing has been made more expensive. A recent court ruling found former anti-corruption czar John Githongo guilty of defamation for whistleblowing on the multi-billion shilling Anglo-Leasing scandal and silenced him with a Sh27 million fine. Is Kenya really worth dying for?

It’s no longer in doubt that Kenya has become a gangsters paradise that reminisces the 1950s Havana mafia mobsters that ran the most daring and complex political-criminal enterprise in Cuba under President Fulgencio Batista before Fidel Castro’s revolution.

A mob of gangsters have infiltrated the state and taken control of institutions and the levers of power from the top to the bottom working hand-in-hand with government officials, private fiefdom business interest and law enforcement.

A gold scamming syndicate where the United Arab Emirates royal family lost more than Sh300 million has recently been unearthed. In the scandal, names of top politicians cropped up and it later turned out that the alleged scammers are people who hover with top politicians and senior government officials.

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It’s also established that security personnel were the flower girls ushering the syndicate. Not long ago, fraudsters impersonated the President conning a businessman Sh10 million. What was intriguing was that the fraudsters used police chase cars and personnel when they went to collect the money.

The latest thuggery exposing Kenya as a basket case is when a sitting governor alleged to have embezzled county funds whilst members of his family are in possession of heavy bank accounts from unexplained sources is arrested but is released after a judicial official gave him some questionable bail terms.

To reveal the moral decay in Kenya, it has been revealed that the CS of Finance wrote to the World Bank assuring the institution that the government has sealed all corruption loopholes. Now, the façade here is not even that the public has not seen and felt those anti-corruption measures, the CS behind that letter is implicated in scandals.

Many times, economists talk about regulatory capture but in Kenya its more brazen than one would imagine.

A few weeks ago, the Central Bank governor was on a truck blasting loud music at a roadshow launching a loan product from five banks.

Never in the history of regulation has there been someone at the level of Central Bank governor become an open sales agent of a product, which he is expected to regulate. The irony is just inescapable.

As the governor is busy on the roadshow, Kenya is ranked as a top global money laundering haven, an international financial crime within the Central Bank policing gambit.

It is not lost to the public that an individual whose business activities remains unknown was recently in possession of $7 million hard cash held in a safe deposit box in a local banks, which apparently wasn’t fake cash.

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga once described Kenya as a bandit economy saying “If we don’t fight the cartel now, we become their slaves. But leaders who do take on the cartels must be prepared to be killed or exiled.”

Reclaiming this country is the proverbial million-to-one shot, but someone has to take that shot.

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