1.1 Background of graft
Many developing nations lost opportunities for growth due to graft during 1980s to 1990s respectively. Those in authority owned or contracted scarce natural resources at their disposal at a fee with little public input. for resources that was availed by donors, banks and agencies that choose to give a hand on the same to be used in nations which needed aid, this was not used well with no little benefit to the populations. According to OECD (2014):
• Approximately US$148 billion, which is 25% of the GDP of African states is lost annually because of graft.
• Graft is estimated to be equals to more than 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) (US$2.6 trillion) with over US$1 trillion paid in bribes each year.
• Growth from foreign investment has been affected by high levels of graft.
• Research by International Monetary Fund shows that nations where prevalence rate of graft is higher receive almost 5% less investment than those that are relatively graft-free.
• At an average, the cost of doing business increases by up to 10% according to World Economic Forum estimates.
• It has been proven that graft has a significant negative impact on income inequality and on income growth for the poorest 20% of a nation empirically.
1.2 Scourge Of Graft In Kenya
Graft in Kenya is a vice that needs to be tackled head-on since it is an issue. Graft has deepened at large and become endemic. It is estimated that 30% of the development budget is lost to graft annually (Kimeu, 2014).
Billions of shillings of public funds have been looted making it hard for implementation of government development projects. This is a menace that needs to be eradicated or minimized if we need to have the next generation. Those implicated should face trial in the courts of law without mercy or regard to perpetrator’s position in the society. Every sector has been affected. Damage to the economy through a substantial loss of investors as well as foreign aid, poor service delivery, failure to reduce poverty are among well-known negative effects.
Institutions, that were set up for better engagement and service delivery between the State and citizens, are being used instead for the personal gain. These enrichment schemes are by and for public officials (politicians and bureaucrats) and other corrupt private agents (individuals, groups, and businesses).
In summary, graft persists in Kenya primarily because there are people in power benefit from it; bad governance from existing State organizations which lack both the will and capacity to stop them; absence of strong and effective democratic institutions; centralized power, lack of public accountability, and impunity.
The term graft according to Merriam Webster refers to an inducement to doing a wrong due to improper or unlawful means such as bribery.
In their 2000 article, Huther and Shahl suggest the following categories of graft:
• Grand graft actions are practiced at the top offices of government. They involve distortion of the state’s central functioning or its policies, for the benefit of the leaders at the expense of the public good. This is normally theft or misuse of a vast amount of public funds by a relatively small number of officials;
State capture or regulatory capture / Political graft occurs when political decision makers in their search to sustain status, power and wealth, manipulate policies, institutions, and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing. It is collusion among public and private agents for private benefit.
2.1.1 Defining Police Graft
Police graft is any action or omission, a promise of any action or omission, or any attempt of action or omission committed by a police officer or a group of police officers characterized by the police officer’s misuse of the official position and motivated in significant part with the achievement of personal/private or organizational gain or advantage (Kempe Ronald Hope, 2015).
2.2. Cost of Graft
Graft impacts societies in many including costing lives (Warah, 2014). It costs people their health, freedom, and money. The cost of graft can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
On the political front, graft is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they are misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
Political interference by politicians who are the ones left to talk about graft-related issues, with some defending those affiliated to their parties and friends interfering with cases. Those holding offices of power try to be inclined to the government in place so as to survive politically and even economically with their cronies. This has slowed down fighting graft cases since people implicated in the same run and hid behind their political parties.
The scourge of graft should be stopped at any cost since it may bring our economy to its knees. Billions of shillings have been looted which could have been used to make meaningful development. This is money that has even been borrowed as loans and the citizens are paying back with huge interest rates. The youth are the most affected persons with lots of money channeled to projects that could have helped them have stalled. The national youth service program is one of the recent examples where millions of shillings were paid to dubious suppliers and the youth suffered because of the same. Undeserved tenders were awarded and until now we have no one who has been jailed for the same and others walking scot free.
The judiciary has been corrupted, even though it had started redeeming itself, the majority of the citizens have lost faith in it. There has been the allegation of top judicial officers being bribed with huge amounts of money to determine cases in favor of people involved in graft. Bodies mandated to tackle these issues like EACC (Ethics and Anti-graft commission) do not have powers to prosecute hence rendered toothless. The police who are the ones to enforce the laws are ranked as the most corrupt institution (Kimeu, 2014).
Most of the government offices are corrupt hence for one to get services they have to part with money to get it. This has brought about frustration among the common citizens getting basic service some which are supposed to be free.
Some business people have colluded with rogue personnel hence evading paying of taxes, robbing off the government billions of shillings.
Social amenities have been grabbed, denying our children an opportunity to exercise and socialize among themselves. Playgrounds that had been set aside for such activities are no more with buildings mushrooming everywhere. This has led to having children who are more like zombies and idleness among our young people who then turn to drug abuse.
Many of those who have stood to fight the vice have been silenced through being threatened and worst cases killed.
Our natural resources are at the danger of extinction. The Mau forest, for example, has been encroached with a substantive part destroyed threating the water catchment to be at risk. Rivers are drying up. Riparian land has been destroyed with dubious deals with corrupt officers approving high rise buildings to be built at the mercy of environmental conservation.
Persistent police graft represents a systemic failure of governance wherein the principal institutions responsible for ensuring police governance, the observance of ethics and integrity standards, and enforcing the rule of law are compromised and may themselves be infested with corrupt individuals and syndicates. The result is that a chain environment of personal and collective impunity prevails and police graft is, therefore, both perceived and real as running rampant. That, in turn, has considerable negative impacts on justice or security sector development and performance and is a challenge to nation-building, to the maintenance of public order and the rule of law, and to support the legitimacy of the state.
2.3 Specific Examples On The Kenyan Scenario
All these affect the country politically, economically, socially and environmentally as described above.
2.3.1 Police Graft
2.3.2 Example Newspaper Headlines
Despite attempts on police reforms, police in Kenya have consistently been ranked as the most corrupt in the country (Mutonyi, 2002). Police graft has had a negative impact on the security and socioeconomic development of the country. Besides the loss of life, is the impact on tourism (Warah, 2014). Tourism has been and continues to be an important source of revenue and livelihood for many in Kenya, its dynamics have changed in the wake of terrorism and increased competition (Manson, 2014). There has been increased competition from alternative perceived safer tourist destinations such as South Africa, the Far East, and Asia (Oxford Business Group, 2016).In addition, there have been various reports of members of Al-Shabaab easily buying their passage into Kenya by bribing police and immigration officials ( (Gibendi, 2015). In 2012, several police officers were dismissed for taking bribes in exchange for granting safe passage to Al-Shabaab terrorists who were carrying explosives destined for use in terror bombings in Nairobi. A member of Kenya’s Anti-Terror Police Unit was reported to have helped Al-Shabaab smuggle the weapons used during a June 2014 massacre in two coastal towns in Kenya.
2.3.2 Five of the biggest revelations on graft in 2018:
I highlight five scandals in 2018 showing the extent of rot at the highest levels of government.
i. Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF)
Internal auditors flagged suspicious payments of more than Ksh10 Million to four youth groups leading to the suspension of 7 officials. In 2016, the Chief Executive was implicated in a Ksh 180Million scam
ii. National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB)
This a Ksh 1.9 billion scam where traders, some of whom are not registered farmers were accused of supplying large quantities of cheap, imported maize at the expense of genuine farmers. Local farmers would be turned away at depots due to this. The Managing Director resigned, five senior managers were suspended and 59 members of staff put under investigation.
iii. Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC)
A Sh647 million scandal at KPC in a flawed procurement of aircraft fuelling gadgets.
The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) in the loss of public funds has led to many questions in the effectiveness with many calling for it to be reviewed.
iv. National Youth Service (NYS)
The same institution has been implicated in a Ksh9 Billion NYS scandal and an Sh791 million scam.17 people including the Director General were arrested.
v. National Tree-Planting Program A Sh2 Billion scam where funds towards an ambitious national tree-planting program targeting primary schools were stolen. Pupils were to receive conservation training, nurseries introduced in schools and 10 percent of all primary school land was to be converted to forest land.
Borrowing from Transparency International’s three guiding principles, we need to:
• Build partnerships with representatives from government, civil society, business, and other relevant stakeholders to develop standards and procedures that are supported by all. If this does not happen, then fighting this scourge will not bear fruit since there will not be buy-in from stakeholders.
• follow a step-by-step procedure to fight graft since one big sweep will not work since the fight cannot be won in a day.
• Confrontational approaches may not bear results since there will be a lack of cooperation. A Non-confrontational approach needs to be used to get relevant parties at the negotiating table. It is better to get some of the pie than none at all.
In terms of legal measures and deterrence, stiff penalties should be enforced upon those implicated in corrupt deals and jailed where necessary as an example to perpetrators and all illegally acquired property seized and recovered.
Finally, ethical values should be taught in our schools from a tender age with graft issues highlighted to our children to shun the vice. Public engagement to fight graft should be used to tame those that practice it since the public eye will be watching.
Observing transparency by shedding light on rules, plans, processes, and actions, ensures that public officials, civil servants, managers, board members, and businesspeople act visibly and understandably, and report on their activities, thereby ensuring accountability.