Ambassador Godec’s Remarks National Anti-Corruption Conference Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi
Your Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya;
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga;
KEPSA Foundation Chairman and members;
Diplomatic colleagues; Distinguished guests;
Mabibi na mabwana;
Hamjambo. Habari zenu?
At the outset, I would like to take a moment to offer the deepest condolences of the United States to the families and friends of all who were killed in last week’s terrible terrorist attack at the DusitD2 Hotel complex. We also offer our support and best wishes to those who were injured. In the wake of this evil attack, now is the time for us to come together and again reject such senseless violence. The United States stands with Kenya in the fight against terrorism.
It is an honor to address this important gathering today on behalf of 11 foreign missions here in Kenya. Our missions are committed to assisting in Kenya’s fight against corruption. I would like to summarize our statement on this challenge.
“As international partners, we are committed to supporting Kenya’s fight against corruption and its goal of greater prosperity for all its citizens. Achieving these goals will happen only through strong Kenyan political leadership supported by zero tolerance for corruption from all Kenyans. Corruption is theft from the Kenyan people, and it has long undermined the country’s prosperity, security, and democracy.
No country is free of this scourge, and many of ours have faced the same challenges. Until fully dealt with, corruption will undermine Kenya’s long-term progress.
We welcome Kenya’s recent commitment to tackling corruption through the joint communiqué issued by both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on ‘Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation’ and through Kenya’s statement at the International Anticorruption Conference in Copenhagen. We recognize these statements are based on Kenya’s Vision 2030 –which lays out several concrete steps for tackling the issue – and its commitment to the UN Sustainable Developments Goals.
As friends, we welcome these statements and reaffirm our readiness
to support the specific commitments Kenyans have made in their pledges to fight corruption. These include:
- Establishing strong, reliable, and independent institutions that both reduce opportunities for corruption and bring perpetrators to justice.
- All government and law enforcement agencies must work together. Without prejudging any current or future cases, all agencies should work together through robust investigations, prosecutions and trials.
- Law enforcement agencies must conduct thorough and prosecutable investigations. All allegations of corruption must be followed through
to fair, open, and transparent conclusion.
- Those responsible for corrupt practices should be prosecuted regardless of political party, social stature, or personal connections. Nothing will send a stronger signal to the people of Kenya, and the world, than convictions
of high-ranking individuals.
- Individuals or organizations found guilty of corruption through fair legal processes should be held accountable, to include forfeiting the proceeds
of their crimes, removal from positions of authority, and prison sentences.
- The country needs to establish reliable and complete birth, death, land, and identity records.
- All public financial management laws and systems, including procurement,
need robust and transparent oversight and reliable protections in place for whistleblowers.
- Educational and professional bodies must build civic awareness through school and professional training curricula. Ethical culture needs to permeate all levels of society.
- All parts of society, including the business, religious, civil society and other sectors, must be aware of their rights and responsibilities in, and fully committed to, the fight against corruption. No one should accept a bribe
or offer one. When any Kenyan becomes aware of illegal activity, it should be immediately reported to the proper authorities.
To support and achieve these goals, the development partners commit to the following:
- We will continue providing wide-ranging assistance and support for efforts to combat corruption at the county and national level.
- We will coordinate our assistance to eliminate redundancy and maximize effectiveness.
- We will raise awareness through a strong public voice that encourages those who are active in the fight against corruption and calls attention to actions, individuals, and groups that are hindering progress.
- We will work with our countries’ business communities to ensure they adhere to the highest ethical codes of conduct.
- We will offer our technical assistance and capacity building to relevant Kenyan bodies in our areas of experience and expertise.
- We will model transparency in the implementation of our own procurements and accountability in our response to those who attempt to misuse our development assistance.
- We will build on our existing efforts and find new ways to strengthen
public financial management systems, investigations and enforcement, governance, accountability, and transparency.
- We will be responsive partners in the seizure and return of assets gained from the proceeds of corrupt practices, ensuring assets are returned to Kenya.
- We will elevate our partnership with the Kenyan government, supporting it in the fight against corruption.
As partners, we will make progress toward meeting our commitments to the Kenyan government and look forward to similar progress on commitments made by the Kenyan government to its people and to the international community.
Through over 20 programs, our governments already support many of the agencies in Kenya most active in the fight against corruption. We will continue to work closely with our government and non-governmental counterparts to further reduce corruption in Kenya. We are committed partners in Kenya’s fight against corruption.”
Those are our commitments. On behalf of the United States, I would add this. I urge that all Kenyans seize this moment. Together, leaders and citizens, you can win this fight. You can defeat corruption. I believe in a brighter future for Kenya, a Kenya free of corruption.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.