CiFAR works on a global scale in support of greater involvement of the public and civic actors in asset recovery. Along this line we produce research and engage alone and with civil society partners to strengthen transparency, accountability and participation in asset recovery at the international and regional levels, and providing case-based and ad hoc support to partners.
Alongside this, we have priority countries where we focus our work and an office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya has been a priority country for our work since 2019. Kenya has seen major international corruption cases in recent years, with names including the Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and Chickengate scandals becoming talking points across Kenya, only some of which have seen substantial progress towards resolution. Outside of these well-known examples, domestic institutions have been increasingly engaged in investigating and prosecuting less well-known cases of public officials accused of corruption and have been engaged in recovering funds stolen by them.
The impact of these scandals has been progress in commitment towards reform at the legislative, policy and practice levels. Overall, political commitment to asset recovery has been high and, alongside prioritising domestic recovery, new agreements have been signed to facilitate international recovery, such as the 2018 Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya (FRACCK) between Kenya, Jersey, Switzerland and the UK, aimed in particular at cases involving the former head of the Lighting Company Samuel Gichuru and the then Minister of Energy Chris Okemo. National institutions to investigate, prosecute and recovery stolen public funds have also been strengthened and public momentum is there to make Kenya a leader in asset recovery.
Institutional challenges remain, however, particularly in the capacity and lack of clarity of role of some of these institutions, alongside questions over the management of recovered assets. Information on the work on institutions and on asset recovery is also difficult to access, making citizen engagement challenging. Underlying this in 2022 is the unknown impact of the upcoming general elections and changes this may bring to the way Kenya continues to fight corruption and seek the recovery of stolen assets.
Our work in Kenya
Kenya is the location of our office supporting our activities in country and in the broader East and Southern Africa regions. Our specific work in Kenya encompasses three areas of activity:
- The politics of asset recovery: aimed at ensuring that asset recovery is kept high on the political agenda in Kenya in the coming period through engaging with politicians and the public on the importance of asset recovery. It also includes leveraging momentum in the broader East Africa region, and specifically engaging with ongoing returns.
- Strengthened asset recovery frameworks and accountability: aims to improve the legislative and policy environments for asset recovery. This includes through working on bolstering the roles of Kenyan asset recovery institutions, increasing transparency on cases, and ensuring there is greater accountability for public officials. It also includes considering the legal framework and potential areas for reform that could improve how Kenya responds to large scale corruption.
- Strengthened civil actors in asset recovery: aims to strengthen the capacities of Kenyan CSOs and journalists to work on asset recovery. This includes through providing topical and strategic support to CSOs, as well as developing training and mentoring programmes for investigative journalists.