ODM Leader Raila Odinga on Monday issued a detailed statement explaining a controversial statement released by his party over the weekend touching on the Covid19 scandal.
Raila issues statement to clarify ODM's controversial statement on Covid19 scandal
Baba sets the record straight
Odinga started off by defending ODM's record in the fight against corruption, highlighting specific cases including in the Anglo Leasing, Grand Regency sale, NYS, Arror and Kimwarer scandals as examples.
He added that ODM had always advocated for a procedural, evidence driven investigation in all cases involving theft of public resources.
The former prime Minister clarified that ODM's statement on the Covid19 scandal had sought to advocate for evidence-driven investigations, and faulted politicians such as Deputy President William Ruto who have relied on media reports to make claims on the matter.
The ODM Leader said there was genuine concern that such media rants and public statements could be used as a cover up - citing the DP's previous comments on the NYS as well as Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal.
"Our experience in this country is that the best way to bungle and cover up corruption investigations is to have many different voices each with its own version of truth. We saw that noise with regard to Arror and Kimwarer dams and the NYS scams, among others."
"It is with this background in mind that ODM wants a speedy professional audit that can lead to prosecution instead of a political shouting match that creates more confusion and end up clouding the issues and even covering up for the thieves," Odinga stated.
The AU High Representative for Infrastructure issued the statement two days after a statement by ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna which elicited political heat over the attack on the Deputy President.
"It is disheartening to hear no less a senior government official than the Deputy President go public with the juvenile and improper statement that "at least now nobody will blame me for stealing Covid-19 funds".
Sifuna hit out at Ruto saying his statement suggested that it was okay for public funds to be misappropriated so long as it is not blamed on him.
“It expresses the jealousy of being left out of the gravy train. We have pointed out before that the DP's recalcitrance and lack of political emotional intelligence are a hindrance to the smooth running of government,” the Secretary General's statement read in part.
Here is the full statement by Odinga:
The Orange Democratic Movement's record of commitment to fighting corruption and safeguarding public resources is well documented. ODM never did and never will tolerate corruption in all its manifestations, no matter who is involved.
The position of the party in the current allegations of corruption in COVID-19 related resources is that the government needs to conduct a thorough and urgent audit of all the funds that have been put at the disposal of various state agencies, departments and ministries to fight the pandemic with a view to establishing the facts on usage of such resources.
ODM has always advocated this systematic approach to fighting corruption. In the Grand Coalition Government, the party successfully pushed for the systematic audit of the sale of Grand Regency Hotel and attendant consequences. ODM pushed for the systematic audit of Anglo Leasing Scandal by Kroll and Associates, leading to appropriate legal action on culprits.
When the Maize Scandal erupted, ODM pushed for the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the matter, leading to appropriate action against culprits. A special audit also led to convictions in the Ksh283 million Nairobi cemetery scam.
This approach has worked well in the recent past.
In the case of Arror and Kimwarer dams, the truth was established when the Auditor-General conducted a special audit of the Sh60 billion dams whose procurement and financing had caused public outrage.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors around the world were allowed to work with local investigators to assist with financial analysis, tracing funds and investigating money laundering. It led to a solid case that resulted in arrests and suspensions. The truth through special audit came after a spirited effort by politicians to mislead the country at many press conferences and public rallies that no money had been lost.
A similar approach worked with regard to the National Youth Service scam where in 2016, the office of the Auditor General was able to establish that Kenyan taxpayers lost Ksh1.9 billion in the scandal and proceeded to identify the principal beneficiaries of the theft. On the basis of that audit, suspects were arraigned in court.
As matters stand now, none of the people taking to the podium or social media to condemn theft of funds has any evidence. The so-called condemnations of theft could well be part of a cover-up.
Our experience in this country is that the best way to bungle and cover up corruption investigations is to have many different voices each with its own version of truth. We saw that noise with regard to Arror and Kimwarer dams and the NYS scams, among others.
It is with this background in mind that ODM wants a speedy professional audit that can lead to prosecution instead of a political shouting match that creates more confusion and end up clouding the issues and even covering up for the thieves.
ODM will not defend anyone, including members or relatives and friends of its officials, found to have benefitted from funds and other resources meant for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
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