Top officials arrested for graft in Kenya

In Kenya, like most African countries, corruption has eaten deep into the system and it is difficult to run businesses successfully without paying bribe. But the East African country has taken a stand to stamp out corruption, renewing this commitment with the appointment of Noordin Mohamed Haji, a former deputy director of the Kenya’s national intelligence service as director of public prosecutions.

In his latest bid to purge Kenya of corruption, Haji directed anti-graft officials to arrest 18 officials, business people and companies over suspected land fraud involving the new $3 billion flagship Nairobi-Mombasa railway. One of the officials is Mohammed Abdalla Swazuri, the chairman of National Land Commission (NLC).

Atanas Kariuki Maina, managing director of the Kenya Railways Corporation and Victor Wahome Kariuki, land surveyor, Kenya Railways were also arrested.

A statement from the anti-corruption agency said the investigation that led to the arrests centres on allegations that officials siphoned taxpayer money through fake compensation claims for land used for the railway.

Kenya’s opposition leaders have criticised the funding of the Nairobi-Mombasa railway, which they said increased the country‚Äôs debt burden. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the country’s debt at between 54-55 percent of GDP in the 2017-18 fiscal year.