From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste

Carolyn from Nairobi writes: “Fr Beste thank you for the review of Lenten campaign 2014 booklet. I have a question which has been bothering me very much. My daughter Stacy is 11 years old and has been asking me why Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays during lent.

In my house I don’t cook meat on Fridays even though sometimes Stacy would like to eat meat on that day. What age is forbidden to eat meat?”

Maurice from Lodwar writes: Fr Omolo I always read your articles you post on your Jaluo.Kom. You must be very courageous Father because some of them are direct to the point and you call a spade a spade. Now my question is, do you think President Uhuru and his deputy Ruto can end corruption in Kenya given that the mafia cartels of corruption operate from their offices? Thank you and continue doing this good apostolate.”

Thank you for the question Carolyn. Abstaining from meat on Fridays during lent is the precept number 4 of the Catholic Church (You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church”) in accordance to Canon Law 1252.

It states that only on Fridays in Lent are Catholics, aged 14 and older, bound to abstain from meat. It means your daughter Stacy can just eat meat. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.

Can. 1253 further states that it is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Thank you for your encouraging compliments Maurice. There are several reasons why Uhuru and Ruto won’t succeed on ending corruption in Kenya. Firstly, the mafia cartels of corruption are powerful individual Kenyans in the Office of the President (OP), under which the Directorate of Personnel Management (DPM) has been domiciled for decades.

This is the most corrupt institution in the country, a fact that the President has admitted. The most corrupt institution in the Office of the President is the internal security docket followed by the Defence docket that has also been under the OP for long and has often been cited as a den of corruption.

The Provincial Administration is no exception, with even funds for IDPs and relief food not being spared. These are powerful cartels that have looted this country and have used the OP as their entry point.

Office of the President is the office that directs who gets what mega contracts in which ministry or department, including the standard railway gauge contract. It is the office where the network of cartels built around the Head of Public Service continues to haunt ministries to date.

Secondly, Uhuru and Ruto cannot end corruption in Kenya because it is the very office, where the same cartels have created the web of cartels that have fleeced this nation continue to be retained in high places in government.

These are untouchable powerful cartels, and so are the senior managers who do their bidding in Deputy President’s Office. These are the cartels who systematically plan for ghost workers’ salaries and various employment sectors.

If Uhuru and Ruto make a mistake of rooting them out, it means they risk being re-elected in office. These are the financers of leaders who promise would work with them if elected.

In fact cartels of corruption in Kenya are many like weed and have spread in all the government sectors. It means if you weed them out other weeds will grow. This is because cartels create themselves as a business system based on global business, special interests, corruption, greed, organized crime and other interests.

Just as Uhuru and Ruto promise to end corruption, Government tenders worth Sh461.8 billion are currently embroiled in controversy, with questions being asked about the procedures followed in awarding them.

They include the Sh425 billion standard gauge railway, the Sh22 billion school laptops project, the Sh13 billion National Social Security Fund tender involving Tassia scheme and Hazina Towers and the estimated Sh1.8 billion paid annually to ghost workers on the government’s payroll.

Given their powerful system is why since 1989 the government has not been able to arrest and charge cartels behind Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station project. The dam was built at three times the estimated cost, twice the allocated amount and producing energy significantly below capacity.

It is also why the longest-running scandal in the Goldenberg, where the Kenyan government subsidised exports of gold, paying exporters in Kenyan Shillings (Sh) 35 percent over their foreign currency earnings have not been arraigned in court of law.

In this case, the gold was smuggled from Congo. The Goldenberg scandal cost Kenya the equivalent of more than 10 percent of the country’s annual GDP.

The next is to do with a Sh360 million helicopter servicing contract in South Africa in 1998. Despite the military officers argument that the contract was too extravagant and servicing the helicopters could be done locally the government at that time had no power to stop the tender.

Kenya Air Force (KAF) went ahead to spend Sh108 million as a down payment for servicing the Puma helicopters, whose tail number is logged as 418 at Denel Aviation, a South African firm.

Another one was in 2003 when military was split over plans to buy new Czech fighter jets. The plan to buy the jet fighters would have cost taxpayers Sh12.3 billion.

Then it came 2005 plans to buy a sophisticated £20 million passport equipment system from France, as government wanted to replace its passport printing system, created conditions for corruption scandal.

The transaction was originally quoted at 6 million euros from François Charles Oberthur of Paris (a supplier of Visa and MasterCards) but was awarded to a British firm, the Anglo-Leasing and Finance Company Limited, at 30 million euros, who would have sub-contracted the same French firm to do the work.

Despite the lack of competitive tendering Anglo Leasing was paid a “commitment fee” of more than £600,000.

In November 2006, when the government was accused of failing to act on a banking fraud scam worth $1.5bn involving money laundering and tax evasion, nothing could be done to stop the scandal.

The same year, when British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells warned, that corruption in Kenya is increasing the UK’s exposure to drug trafficking and terrorism, nothing was done.

In September 2007, when documents exposing a 500 million Kenyan shilling payroll fraud at Egerton University and subsequent cover up were released, the subject of ongoing legal dispute in the High Court just ended prematurely.

And in June 2008 when the Grand Regency Scandal broke, wherein the Central Bank of Kenya was alleged to have secretly sold a luxury hotel in Nairobi to an unidentified group of Libyan investors for more than 4 billion Kenyan Shillings (approx US $60 million) below the appraised market value, nothing the government of Kibaki could do.

Finance Minister Amos Kimunya negotiated the sale, and was censured in a near-unanimous motion by the Kenyan Parliament, he was briefly suspended. He was re-instated with no expiation.

This followed on the heels of the Safaricom IPO, overseen by Kimunya, which had been alternatively praised and questioned for possible corruption in the execution of the sale. Safaricom is the largest mobile phone service provider in Kenya, having operated with a near-government monopoly for many years. The government of Kenya sold its 50 percent stake in Safaricom in the IPO.

Then there was a scandal became public over the sale of imported maize in 2009, the Triton Oil Scandal regarding the unauthorised releasing of oil by Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) without informing financiers and in October 2012 Japanese land by Foreign Affairs ministry officials that could have saved the country loss of Sh1.1 billion. Moses Wetengular was the minister then.

The litany is so long that you cannot finish in a day. This is just to demonstrate how cartels of corruption surrounding State House are untouchable.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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