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President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday handed over seven ambulances to counties. The ambulances were purchased with money recovered from a UK company found guilty of bribery to get a Kenyan contract.
The dossier used by British authorities to jail and fine directors of a printing firm, Smith & Ouzman, for paying out bribes, code-named ‘chicken’, indicate that the firm paid Sh59 million ($570000) to Kenya’s electoral and school examinations officials.
According to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, the money was paid to some officials from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) as kickbacks for awarding tenders to print ballot papers and examination materials.
The ambulances will be used to support the health referral system and will be based at health centres that are in dire need of them.
The President said the repatriation of the proceeds of corruption arising from the Smith & Ouzman case was a significant step in fighting corruption by ensuring that the corrupt did not enjoy the proceeds of their crime.
The ambulances were dispatched to Laikipia, Wajir, West Pokot, Kitui, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nairobi counties.
Governors Joshua Irungu (Laikipia), Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Julius Malombe (Kitui) and Evans Kidero (Nairobi) as well as Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) received the ambulances on behalf of their counties at State House Nairobi.
“These ambulances will go a long way in saving lives and enhancing emergency response services in the selected counties, which were in dire need of this support,” said Uhuru.
He said Kenya was working closely with the UK, Switzerland and Jersey to return proceeds from corruption and crime to Kenya.
He said although the process had taken long because of the legal complexities of confiscation and repatriation, the handing over of the ambulances marked an important step in ensuring that the repatriated cash was applied for the benefit of Kenyans.
Uhuru said the country was ready to roll out a new five-year strategy to fight corruption, with a focus on prevention, recovery and restitution.
The new strategy target Kenyans’ attitude towards corruption starting with school children.
“This is why we have moved to clean up our examinations processes and infrastructure,” said Uhuru.
Other measures to be taken by the Government include investing in technology and re-engineering service systems to eliminate opportunities for corruption, and adoption of a policy requiring all Government agencies to collectively fight corruption.
The Government will also work with partners to significantly enhance its ability to recover the proceeds of corruption and crime in Kenya or anywhere else in the world.
Uhuru directed all institutions mandated to fight graft to work together.
“Front line agencies involved in the fight against corruption must work together under the Multi-Agency Framework, which I established in November, 2015,” he said.
He thanked the UK government represented by High Commissioner Nic Hailey, for helping in the establishment of the Kenya Child Protection Unit.
Also present at the ceremony were Cabinet secretaries Henry Rotich and Cleopa Mailu, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.