Kenyan Looters Should Invest Locally; Auditor General Says
Kenyans embezzling public funds should be encouraged to invest their loot in the country instead of stashing it abroad, according to Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu.
She said illicit financial flows, if allowed to be invested locally, could lead to more development in countries.
The World Bank estimates that up to $2.6bn (£2.1bn) is stashed in offshore bank accounts by Kenya’s ruling elite who enriched themselves from public funds, according to research released in 2020.
Ms Gathungu told a meeting in Nairobi: “Perhaps we should start a campaign that says if you steal it and you are able to get away with it, invest it in the country where it is stolen. If you steal it from Kenyans, invest it in Kenya.”
“It sounds very strange, but perhaps we could then see development taking place in our country and then later we ask the questions, where did you get it from?”
She added that it was an approach being considered by auditor-generals in the region.
The comments drew varied reactions on social media. Some thought the auditor-general was being pragmatic while others described it a surrender in efforts to streamline use of public funds.
The auditor-general is an independent constitutional office that monitors use and management of public resources in Kenya.