US President Barack Obama has emphasized the fight against graft at all levels saying it can never be “small time” and that sometimes forensic auditors are not needed.
Obama said it is important for the government and citizens to acknowledge that corruption does not encompass the normal way of doing business.
He said it will eventually be curbed when leaders and people of integrity focus on it, and are willing to make culpable top officials accountable.
Obama said ending corruption will require public support and “visible prosecutions”.
“That may mean you have to ensure that police officers and civil servants are paid properly. They should have sufficient benefits so they do not feel obliged to do that,” he said.
“I mentioned (to Uhuru) that people are not stupid. If they see an elected official and they know their salaries, and suddently they are driving through town in a very big car.. building a new house…, and all that doesn’t seem to match up with their salary, they have to put them to account.”
He spoke at a joint press conference at State House, Nairobi, on Saturday, following bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Obama said corruption may be the biggest hindrance to Kenya’s growth as it slows down entrepreneurship and discourages investors.
“International businesses are concerned if the price of investing in Kenya is, 5 per cent or 10 per cent , going to some place that does not have have anything to do with the project,” he said.
“It is just a mathematical issue.”
He praised Uhuru for declaring the war on graft and urged him to find its root cause.