Kenya Prosecutor Orders Charges as Corruption Scandals Erupt

(Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s state prosecutor ordered dozens of civil servants to be prosecuted for alleged corruption after the country’s president warned the government will no longer tolerate unethical officials.

Public Service Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo and National Youth Service Director-General Richard Ndubai are among 40 members of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration who face prosecution over funds that went missing from the National Youth Service, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said at a televised press briefing Monday in the capital, Nairobi.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ directive marks the start of indictments after details emerged this month of four corruption scandals involving state-run entities. Twenty people have been arrested so far, Haji’s office said on its Twitter account.

“The fight against corruption is on top gear and all efforts will be put in place in fighting the vice which has negatively impacted the country’s economy,” it said.

While the state prosecutor said it’s investigating the disappearance of 8 billion shillings from the National Youth Service, as much as 10 billion shillings ($100 million) may have gone missing, the Nairobi-based Star newspaper reported on Sunday.

More Scandals

Anti-corruption agencies are also investigating alleged theft at state-owned Kenya Power Plc, in which billions of shillings went missing through irregular contracts, the Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper reported. In addition, the authorities are probing the disappearance of 1.9 billion shillings from the state-run National Cereals & Produce Board, and 647 million shillings from the government-owned Kenya Pipeline Co.

Kenya ranks in the bottom quarter of the 180 nations on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, which measures perceived graft. Kenyatta has previously described the theft of public funds as a threat to national security.

“All Kenyans entrusted with responsibility must be ethical and ready to serve with a high sense of morality,” the presidency said in an emailed statement. “We are not going to tolerate unethical people. People with responsibility must be ready to serve and not to be served.”

Omollo and Ndubai stepped down earlier this month down to allow an investigation into the NYS payments.

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