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EACC recovers Sh25 billion assets as Media challenged to lead fight against graft

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has in the past five years recovered corruptly acquired assets worth about Sh25 billion.

The Commission has during the same period prevented possible loss of public funds worth approximately Sh30.4 billion.

EACC Vice chair Sophia Lepuchirit at the same time said the commission is seeking forfeiture of illegally acquired public funds worth 25.5 billion in the last five years.

Lepuchirit made the remarks during a two-day Media Practitioners’ Training Workshop for Nakuru County based journalists held at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.

She appealed to the media to take the lead in the fight against corruption by exhaustively covering cases of unethical practices in the society.

Lepuchirit said that the media has an important role in the fight against corruption as it is well placed to demand accountability and transparency from the public and the private sector.

She challenged journalists to play their watchdog role through objective reporting while exposing the rot in society.

She acknowledged that journalistic works confronting unethical practices had often led to criminal investigations, adding that the commission has enhanced its efforts in combating the corruption and achieved some milestones.

The commissioner appealed to journalists to entrench a culture that promotes adherence to national values, good governance, leadership and ethics in the society.

Lepuchirit at the same time called on the media practitioners to uphold ethical standards devoid of unethical practices such as favouritism, bribery (brown envelope) and unbalanced reporting, that she said had tainted the image of the media profession in Kenya.

“This training is part of the efforts by the Commission to entrench an ethical culture, integrity and professionalism in the media industry in line with the requirements of our Constitution,” she said.

The Commissioner commended the press for setting aside their daily roles to attend the training to gain knowledge and upscale on skills crucial in reporting on corruption related cases.

She added that the training was also a significant stride in building journalist skills capacity while enforcing a more reliable symbiotic relationship with the mainstream anti-corruption agencies geared towards the government anti-corruption agenda.

She underscored that the success in the fight against corruption will not depend on the Commission alone but also on how the media practitioners will engage integrity in their work.

“We must all join hands in the clarion call, Tuangamize Ufisadi,Tuinjenge Kenya” said Lepuchirit.

An investigator at the commission Philip Kagucia, said the knowledge imparted to journalist on the anti-corruption legal framework will help them navigate legal jargons when reporting on corruption related cases.

Kagucia challenged journalists to be positive in the reports and avoid terms that glorify corruption in the society.

The investigator added that the commission banks on media support in deterrence of graft and unethical practices which he said the media should strive to highlight.

The Workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Media Council of Kenya and International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Media Council of Kenya Head of Media Development and Strategy, Victor Bwire, challenged scribes to be bold and undertake investigating stories which unearths rot in government institutions.

“Journalists should strive to undertake stories without fear or favor,’’ Bwire emphasized accusing some members of the fourth estate of compromising the quality of their reports after receiving bribes.

Bwire said that the Council will continue to conduct trainings that impart knowledge on ethical journalism standards to build the capacity of media practitioners within the provisions of the code of conduct for the media profession.

He singled out the council’s work in supporting journalists by providing work grants to undertake research and write stories on national interest issues besides awarding best journalist through the Annual Journalism Awards.

He underscored the role of the media in the crusade against corruption, underdevelopment, diseases as well as the promotion of democracy and human rights.

By Erastus Gichohi

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