ASSET-TRACING AND RECOVERY, THE GOLDEN GOOSE IN FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

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The mandates of anti-graft agencies in fighting corruption is to protect public funds, and in cases where loss has already occurred, to trace and recover.

The process of recovery involves investigations, tracing the assets suspected to be from corruption or economic crimes then moving onto court for preservation before eventual recovery and forfeiture to the State.

The agencies use the laws which provide for recovery of assets that have been stolen or are established to have been illegitimately acquired. The onus to provide evidence of legality of the assets lies with the suspect once the agencies move to court with evidence that the wealth is beyond the known, and declared sources of income.

Asset-tracing, though rigorous, painstaking and complex, is a ” sure bet” in recovering stolen public funds, and deterrence. This is because corrupt individuals rely on the stolen funds to fight the anti-graft agencies and the justice system including hiring the best lawyers, launching multiple court cases and paying bonds and fines.

Scores of former and current public officials have been netted through this manner. These are individuals who are suspected of having used government resources, engaged in crimes that include embezzlement, fraud, bribery, and failure to follow procurement procedures among other methods to confer benefits to either themselves, family members, friends, cronies or allies at the expense of development projects for the better for taxpayers and the general public.

The Multi-Agency Taskforce (MAT) which comprise of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Kenya Revenue Authority, National Intelligence Service, Financial Reporting Centre, Asset Recovery Agency, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Attorney General, have made great strides in this unique area to fight corruption using the multipronged approach of assets preservation and recovery by working closely.

Heavy fines, mandatory jail terms will act as deterrents for those engaging in such vices as well as for those who may be lured or tempted to involve themselves is such to enrich themselves.

While properties worth billions are suspected to be illegally in private hands, enhanced asset recovery has so far resulted in recovery of Kshs.26.65billion by EACC alone. There are many recovery suits going on in court targeting senior public officials among them current and former governors. Recently, the EACC has acquired orders to freeze almost one billion shillings of assets held by a parastatal manager. Strengthening of laws, public support and the reinvigorated goodwill by the Judiciary led by new Chief Justice Martha Koome will propel those gains even further.

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