Kenya suspends officials for lie detector tests in graft fight

2018-06-05 06:03
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Kenya said on Monday it has suspended all state procurement and accounting chiefs for fresh vetting, including lie detector tests, in a bid to root out the endemic corruption dogging the country.

The move comes amid a new flurry of corruption scandals, with some $80 million (70 million euros) stolen from the national youth agency through fictitious payments and dodgy tenders, and similar scams at other state organisations in recent weeks.

"Heads of procurement and accounting units in ministries, departments, agencies and state corporations have been instructed to step aside with immediate effect," said government spokesman Mwenda Njoka in a statement.

The officials have been ordered to submit personal financial information as part of the vetting procedure.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week ordered the fresh vetting of the officials, which he said would include "polygraph testing to determine their integrity and suitability."

Kenya's presidents have for decades vowed to crack down on corruption, with little progress and numerous scandals breaking every year.

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In 2017 Kenya fell to 143rd out of 180 countries in Transparency International's annual corruption index.

In March, a damning report from the auditor general showed the government could not account for $400 million in public funds.

Kenya's foreign allies have welcomed the swift charging of dozens of officials over the scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS), however critics accuse the government of going after small fish and failing to prosecute top officials.

"This fight against corruption seems to be targeting low-level civil servants," activist Boniface Mwangi wrote on Twitter after the procurement officials were ordered to undergo fresh vetting.

He urged Kenyatta to make public declarations of wealth from all cabinet ministers and top politicians.

"Anything short of that is just public relations," he said.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

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