By D S
In organizing my thoughts and facts to write about Alex Mutuku Mutungi’s “hack” into the server belonging to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the resultant missing KSh.4bn, it occurred to me that I could simply list the “major” scandals that have been unearthed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 1st term in office and ask the following two question:
(1) Need I say more and (2) When and/or how did the KRA become a depository (bank) where one can access billions of shillings – via a “hack”?
It also occurred to me that this latest scandal involving yet another loss of billions is a microcosm of a Jubilee Coalition asking the voters paying for its incompetence and corruption to re-elect it come August 8th!
I decided that it would be too easy and non-value added to simply list the scandals where inordinate amounts of cash have disappeared — carted away in sacks, “misplaced”, “off-shored”, “gone missing” or “hacked” away under Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency.
Unsurprising, Kenyans have seen this script before – more than once.
Scandals involving theft of national funds have been the norm under Jubilee and this latest incident adds yet another word – “hack” – to the lexicon of terms used to describe theft of public funds during the first term of Kenya’s 4th president. Their pervasiveness also speaks to the following truisms:
-Where there is smoke there is fire,
-Technology and technological tools are only as effective as the humans charged with operating them to wit Garbage In; Garbage Out (GIGO),
-Power corrupts (and Kenyans are corrupt),
-Follow the money.
So rather than just add IT “expert” Alex Mutungi’s heist of KSh. 4bn, curiously from “hacking” into the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) server to the list of scandals, I decided to give the incident some historical perspective by placing it alongside select scandals – involving amounts equal to or greater than KSh. 1bn – involving Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta and those close to him.
Because the buck stops with Mr. Kenyatta and because his administration has been implicated in so many scandals involving so many billions that one would be remiss in writing about this latest scandal at the KRA as a stand-alone isolated event.
Mutungi’s “hack” of the KRA server is not isolated if you consider the following:
– President Kenyatta was the Minister for Finance when a “Ksh9.2bn-Typing error” surreptitiously appeared in a Supplementary Budget.
-That instead of turning over investigation of the unauthorized transfer of KSh.8bn from the state’s ‘secret account’ by people in his Office of the President (OP) to the ethics and corruption agency, Mr. Kenyatta transferred the suspects to other departments within his administration,
-That companies and an event linked to the president’s wife, his sister and his cousin received illegal payments from the Ministry of Health totaling KSh. 5bn,
-That Uhuru Kenyatta’s close confidante and former Cabinet Secretary of Devolution and Planning Anne Waiguru left office under a cloud of suspicion over KSh. 891mn that went missing.
-And finally, on the heels of Waiguruegate was the Eurobond mega-scandal involving KSh. 250bn that Jubilee could not fully account for.
Given the foregoing examples, which are just the tip of the iceberg in the annals of gross plunder under Jubilee, the missing billions from the KRA just adds fuel to the bonfire of kleptocracy that has raged throughout Kenya’s history and has been an inferno over the past four years.
The saying “where there is fire there is smoke” is thus vividly and accurately illustrated when the KRA case is listed alongside the unresolved “KSh.9.2bn typo or whatever” when Uhuru was Minister for Finance, the “unauthorized transfer of KSh.8bn from a ‘secret account’” involving individuals in the OP, the missing KSh.5bn from the Ministry of Health implicating the First Family, Waigurugate and the mother of all scandals under Jubilee – KSh. 250bn Eurobond.
Obfuscations and prevarications aside, billions are missing from Kenya’s national coffers and implicated directly and indirectly is the man facing an expensive re-election campaign. I’ll leave it up to the readers to draw their own conclusion regarding the missing billions and the incumbent’s re-election campaign.
Kenya or “Silicon Savanna” has been recognized by titans of America’s Silicon Valley such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates as a technology mecca. Mr. John Mucheru and his team are being disingenuous when they blame technology as the culprit in this latest theft.
Kwani Jubilee wanafikiri sisi ni wajinga?
Come to think of it, given the frequency with which Jubilee has been embroiled in gross malfeasance, maybe they DO think that Kenyans are stupid. That’s why they can toss out theories and explanations that impugn our intelligence and understanding of technology basics.
Finally, the one thing that is absolutely immutable in politics regardless of the country is the role and influence of money. It is the oil that lubricates the gears of politics and of political office.
In the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, FBI Agent Mark Felt is said to have told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to “follow the money” if he wanted to find out who was responsible for breaking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The “money” that needed following was the $200,000+ paid to co-conspirators G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt, and the five burglars by Anthony Ulasewicz, a White House Opposition Research hire. Mr. Woodward, along with a colleague Carl Bernstein FOLLOWED the money and brought down America’s 37th government.
In fact, the effectiveness of this (investigative) technique/advise is the sole reason why Attorney General Githu Muigai fought tooth and nail to stop ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda from accessing suspect Uhuru Kenyatta’s bank records.
Conflation of Alex Mutungi’s cybercrime alongside the other scandals listed above, while potentially misleading, is appropriate in this instance, especially when the seemingly disparate events are contextualized. So let’s not only heed the smoke, let’s follow the money and consider the following:
We have a country (Kenya), a government (Jubilee) and a people (Kenyans) – all with a global reputation of being immensely corrupt. Add to that a fast-approaching election pitting the leader of the corrupt government (Uhuru Kenyatta) against an opposition (NASA) whose standard-bearers are demonstrably not as corrupt and suddenly, Alex Mutungi’s “hack” doesn’t seem so out of place alongside these other incidents – involving missing billions.