HURDLES ON THE ROAD TO NETTING THE WEALTHY CORRUPT KENYANS

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The fight against corruption is not an easy path when it comes to netting wealthy individuals who perpetuate high level corruption.

When facing possible prosecution, they go to great lengths to escape, hide, and when netted, will unleash their massive resources to defeat justice.

Various prosecutions and convictions have revealed the measures and tactics deployed by these individuals, who use a myriad of tactics to either hide detection or escape conviction, from investigations up to the corridors of justice.

The wealthy are known for taking refuge in foreign havens to escape investigative agencies. They use offshore accounts to hide questionable wealth carted away from the country. They also use companies registered in foreign countries to hide ownership, or to secure lucrative international tenders.

Further, they buy high end properties in foreign countries to hide illegally acquired wealth. Thus, making efforts to net them very expensive and complicated.

To highlight what the hidden wealth looks like is recent the revelation that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is going after a massive Kshs.5 billion hidden in foreign countries by high net worth Kenyans.

The super-rich also deploy their massive resources against anti-graft agencies in courts to defeat efforts to nab them. One tactic is filing multiple cases in order to slow down execution of cases. Some go to the extent of filing multiple cases in different parts of the country, to strain both the human and financial resources of the agencies.
This also detracts focus from the main cases, protracting the court processes, and delaying justice and convictions timelines, with some cases taking up to 10 years in courts.

Others taken advantage of the very ills that the anti-graft agencies are contending with, corruption and unethical conduct in the judiciary. A few years ago, the judiciary underwent a vetting process to weed out corrupt officials from its midst. The wealthy do not hesitate to take advantage of these weaknesses. The results are light sentences, light fines or escape altogether.

Ineffective legislations are another loophole which allows the corrupt to continue enjoying their freedom and wealth even as they face corruption charges in courts. And even when charged or convicted, the wealthy have no challenges securing their freedom as they can afford to pay bonds and any fines imposed on them, monies which other Kenyans facing similar actions afford as they serving time in prisons.

Efforts to redress wide ranging corrupt practices and implement efforts that would also rid our country of corrupt malpractices have also died out whenever the wealthy individuals or institutions are involved. Such efforts become non-starters with Kenyans resigned to the facts. To note are the numerous grabbing of land belonging to public institutions or set aside for communal use. Despite being rampant, prosecuting them remains an uphill task due to the fact that majority of beneficiaries are the rich.

The wealthy also use political and tribal support, going to great lengths to pull strings, or politicize the allegations and play victims. The fact that these wealthy individuals also give out hand-outs and contribute to community development projects also gives them an escape route to evade justice. Their arrests often raise public outcries as they whip public emotions by gathering their supporters around them. And neither do they hesitate to deploy their wealth to ascended to high offices as a haven to escape anti-graft agencies.
It took a historical ruling by Justice Mumbi Ngugi to have Sate Officers facing corruption charges step aside from their offices until the corruption charges are finalized.

With corruption ailing law enforcement agencies such as the police, the wealthy also known to use this to escape arrests and thwart investigations through bribery and in some cases, destroying evidence. The suspects also have informants enabling them to go into hiding or destroy evidence when investigative agencies go after them.
With the wealthy deploying their massive resources to circumvent corruption charges and facing justice, the battle to rid the country of corruption continues to be an uphill task.

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