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Death penalty for corruption faces opposition

03 April 2014, 10:38

Nairobi - Transparency International Kenya has opposed efforts by Kiharu MP, Irungu Kang’ata, to amend Section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to impose the death penalty on culprits found guilty of corruption.

TI Kenya Executive Director, Samuel Kimeu, said while the organisation appreciated the “zeal” of the MP, they found it “misdirected” and “diversionary.”

“Our position is informed by two reasons. First, the imposition of the death penalty for any offense has been a divisive issue in Kenya. Even though the death penalty is still in our statute books, there is very strong sentiment against it,” said Kimeu.

“Secondly, the debate on the death penalty unnecessarily diverts attention from the important work of strengthening our justice system to ensure there are no gaps that the corrupt use to escape justice,” said Kimeu.

So far, he added, the frustration of many Kenyans is that there were very few people who were being held to account successfully through the legal system.

Kimeu said that the effectiveness of any legal system was founded not on the extremity of the sanctions thereof, but on the consistency of enforcement.

“There is very little utility in allowing for extreme sanctions even if the seemingly lenient ones are hardly delivered,” said Kimeu.

Kimeu said that the sanctions for corruption in Kenya’s statute books, if stringently enforced, coupled with upholding the principle of equality before the law, were sufficient in helping the country succeed in fighting corruption.

 – CAJ News

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