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Some Kenyans have become incorrigible thieves. They have no scruples about stealing from their employers and the most notorious are in the public sector. The numerous scandals unearthed in recent times leave no doubt that to many of these public service appointees, the motivation is not to serve, but to loot public resources. It’s sickening that the scams involve staff from the lowest to the highest levels in government ministries, parastatals or agencies.
Several months ago, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had to personally intervene to break up a cartel that has, for years, been minting hundreds of millions of shillings from the civil registration of persons. It is these corrupt people who issue birth certificates that foreigners with ulterior motives have used to obtain Kenyan national identity cards and even passports.
The 47 counties, which were expected to become reliable channels to move resources from the centre to the grassroots, have become dens of corruption. Thankfully, the national anti-corruption agencies are working on this and several governors have already been hauled to court on graft charges.
There have also been stunning revelations on how some junior public service clerks have siphoned out hundreds of millions of shillings that should have gone into providing essential services.
Currently hogging the limelight is the unmasking of the thieving that has gone on at Kenya Power for too long. Crooks have made unsuspecting customers pay for electricity they never consumed. This, as investigations have revealed, has been done through the manipulation of the billing system. Rogue staff have enabled the loss of hundreds of millions of shillings through devious, well-orchestrated schemes. Some customers have ended up paying hugely inflated bills. It is believed the total loss could be nearly Sh1 billion.
The power utility deserves kudos for taking the bull by the horns in its attempt at an internal cleanup and tightening controls, which has seen some culprits sacked.
Kenya Power is not the only parastatal that has been looted dry. Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is also reeling under fraud engineered from within. KPC has admitted that its own highly qualified and experienced employees were behind a racket that had fuel worth billions of shillings stolen. This confirms the endemic graft and insatiable greed that have infiltrated every segment of our society.
There are many other examples of this shameful rot.
Fighting corruption is a New Year resolution that the country badly needs to enhance efforts to turn the tide against the vice.