Experts: Graft exposing Kenya to terrorism

2014-05-29 14:04
Al-Shabaab. (AFP)

Al-Shabaab. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Corrupt police and other government employees willing to break rules for bribes are weakening Kenya's ability to prevent a new rash of terror carried out by attackers with links to Somali militants, officials and analysts say.

Kenya has seen a long string of deadly attacks this year, including grenade blasts and homemade bombs deployed against buses, in markets and at a beachside hotel. Security officials fear another Westgate Mall-style attack — an assault by four gunmen in September that killed at least 67 people — could be coming.

"Corruption — systemic graft — is at the heart of the state's inability to respond to insecurity in general," said John Githongo, a former Kenyan government adviser who exposed millions of dollars in government corruption.

Grand theft by the country's ruling elite has allowed an attitude of "if he can do it so can I" to permeate the country's lower ranking security apparatus, he said.

"We are paying the price in blood," Githongo said.

Two senior Kenyan police officials who insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals said police officers, customs officials and immigration officials are easily compromised because of low pay and bad working conditions. One of the officers said there have been multiple instances of police arresting a suspect and setting him free for a bribe and it later turned the suspect is a terrorist.

National security

Corruption has a long history in Kenya. A decade ago a series of security contracts dubbed Anglo-Leasing that were supposed to improve the country's security infrastructure with the purchase of police helicopters, communication systems and a forensic laboratory instead saw money by senior government officials plundered, Githongo said.

 No one has served any prison time for what is believed to have been a loss of tens of millions of dollars of government money.

"National security has always been the last refuge of the corrupt in Kenya. Security sector contracts were always subject to unconstrained predatory treatment. The chickens are coming home to roost and it hurts," Githongo said.

Government funds were also squandered in the 1990s, when the police force was supplied with vehicles "of a caliber lower than any you would get on the road," said Samuel Kimeu, who heads the Kenyan chapter of the of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. "It was an unmitigated disaster," he said.

Kimeu noted that after the Westgate attack, which saw a huge section of the mall catch fire and collapse, FBI forensic experts helped to identify the remains of the attackers. Had the Ango-Leasing scandal not happened, Kenya could have done that work itself, he said.

"We had to seek foreign forensic expertise that we should have were it not for the corruption riddled procurement over 10 years ago," he said.

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants have vowed to carry out revenge attacks in Kenya because the East African country sent troops to Somalia to fight the extremists in 2011.

Heavy criticism

Kimeu said there are too many illegal aliens in the country who have authentic Kenyan identification documents, an easy way for a terrorist from Somalia to get into the country. After Westgate, the government fired 15 customs agents for issuing government documents for bribes.

Kenyan authorities have reacted to the wave of terror attacks by carrying out sweeps on illegal aliens in Somali enclaves in Nairobi. At least 3 000 people have been arrested and nearly 400 deported. The operation has drawn heavy criticism from rights groups who accuse police of extortion and bribe-taking.

The Kenyan activist group InformAction, in a YouTube video titled "All in a Good Days Work," posted a video of a police officer with someone in custody letting the woman go after handing money to the officer.

The man in charge of the force is Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku. During a recent graduation ceremony for new recruits Ole Lenku called the accusation that police were demanding $60 bribes during the security sweep a "distraction."
- AP
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.