Kenya’s fierce war on corruption has received a major boost after Britain signed a key agreement to repatriate all proceeds of crime stashed away in all its jurisdictions.
At State House Nairobi yesterday, President Kenyatta and the visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May witnessed the signing of an agreement on the framework for the return of assets from corruption and proceeds of crime hidden in off-shore accounts by corrupt individuals.
Britain becomes the third international partner – after Switzerland and Jersey – to support Kenya’s war on graft through the signing of agreements aimed at repatriation of assets and monies acquired through corrupt deals back into the country.
While thanking the British Government for its commitment to the fight against graft, President Kenyatta said there was no turning back on the war on corruption and economic crimes adding that the sustained drive was part of his legacy in addition to the Big 4 agenda.
“Fighting corruption is an important aspect of my legacy programme, together with the unity of the country and attainment of the Big Four centred around investment in housing, manufacturing, food security and universal health.
“Depriving people the proceeds of their crimes is one major deterrent against this vice, and we are determined to make it painful, unrewarding and expensive to get involved in corruption. As I have said in other fora, there is no turning back.” – President Kenyatta
On her part, Prime Minister May said that besides repatriation of the proceeds of corruption, her government will support efforts to prosecute and conclude all major corruption cases in the country.
“We welcome your commitment and drive to fight corruption. We stand with you. Whatever is held in the UK will be returned to build Kenya,” said Mr May.
President Kenyatta and the Prime Minister May also witnessed the signing of a second agreement on the renewal of security pact between the two countries.
The agreement will enable Kenya to receive critical support for border control and aviation security through training programmes and equipment for border, airline and immigration staff.
Other areas of co-operation under the agreement include countering violent extremism, terrorism and trans-national crime through sharing of information and profiling of major masterminds and beneficiaries of these crimes.
On Kenya’s desire to secure a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, the British PM said her country will work with Kenya to ensure it achieves its intended goal.
The PM assured Kenya of continued access of the UK’s markets through the current duty free arrangement in the even after Brexit (exit of Britain from the European Union) on 29 March 2019. She said talks between Kenya and the UK are underway to come up with a new framework of trade. The PM noted that Britain and Kenya have had a long trade and investment partnership which will be enhanced under the post-Brexit arrangement.
Mrs May, who led a strong 29-member delegation of business executives, said trade links between the UK and Nairobi will continue to be strengthened to enhance economic partnerships adding that many investors from her country have an appetite for investing in Kenya.
President Kenyatta said Kenya is looking forward for more investments from both its traditional and new partners to meet its socio-economic agenda.
“We are not going out there with a begging bowl. But to partner with those who are willing to come along with us,” said President Kenyatta.
The Head of State said Kenya firmly believes in multi-lateral business dealings with all parties across the globe.
“Kenya has an attractive business and trade environment for both local and foreign investments,” said the President.
The President asked Britain to support Kenya’s blue economy initiatives as it is central to the country’s sustainable resource use both for the current generation and for posterity.
He thanked the UK for accepting to participate in the Blue Economy Conference scheduled for Nairobi in November by committing to contribute an estimated Ksh 35 million. He said British businessmen have great opportunities to invest in the Kenya’s emerging blue economy sector by putting up landing facilities for deep sea fishing, ship building facilities, fish processing and packaging facilities in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Lamu, Malindi, Msambweni and Mombasa – which will also enhance the Big-4 agenda through job creation.
On regional security and peace, the British Prime Minister lauded Kenya’s efforts to stabilize Somalia and the signing of a peace deal in South Sudan under AMISOM and IGAD respectively. Prime Minister May said that through security cooperation between the two countries Britain has managed to put behind bars terrorists and child traffickers adding that Britain will soon announce a new aid package in support of AMISOM forces in Somalia.