Oh, The Joy, The Irony – Kenyan MP Johnny Savula Arrested Over Advertising Graft

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In common with a number of other poor places Kenya is wracked with corruption in public office. This being one of the things which goes along with poverty, the government splashing the tax revenues into the pockets of the governors rather than just wasting it normally like all other governments. We’ve a story here though which is just joyous with the irony of it. One of the more populist of the current MPs, Ayub Savula, has been detained in a case concerning the lifting of part of the government’s advertising budget. That’s the same Ayub Savula MP who just a few months back was calling for the death penalty for those who lifted substantial amounts of government budget revenue for their own pockets.

No doubt we will see him arguing his innocence and also the correct punishment if he’s not. No doubt:

The two are among 25 individuals and five companies that the state will charge in court beginning tomorrow over fraudulent payments at the government advertising agency and the National Treasury. The government owes media companies Sh2.5 billion for services rendered but not paid for over the years. “I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of fraudulent advertisement and payment of Sh122,335,500 to Savula, Melody Gatwiri and Hellen Kemboi, the Sunday Publishers Ltd, Melsav Company Ltd, Johnnewton Communications, the Express Media Group, No Burns Protection Ltd, Cross Continent Ventures Ltd and Sheldlock Ltd respectively,” said the DPP. “I am further satisfied that Sammy Ishiundu Itemere approved fraudulent payments of Sh122,335,500 to the aforementioned names and companies,” he said.

The scam, as alleged, is simple enough. The government advertises stuff, as all governments do, so there’s a budget for it. So, set up a series of “briefcase companies” which purport to place or book such advertising. Get insiders in the budget sign off process to direct contracts, invoices and payments to those briefcase companies which then just swallow the cash.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has recommended the prosecution of 30 firms and individuals over the Sh2.5 billion scandal at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).

The DPP released the names of the suspects Saturday morning who include former Broadcasting and Telecommunication Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere, Lugari MP Ayub Savula and his two wives Melody Gatwiri Ringera and Hellen Kemboi.

Mr Savula was arrested Friday evening and taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters for interrogation over the scandal.

Yes, a simple enough scam if you know all the right people. The joy here comes from this:

Barely three months ago, Lugari MP Ayub Savula said corruption suspects should be publicly executed.

Today, his words have come back to haunt him.

The MP is currently in police custody in connection to the loss of Sh2.5 billion at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).

He was arrested on Friday evening and is currently being held at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi.

Savula had in May proposed that suspects in Sh 1 billion and above graft cases be publicly executed.

“Someone who steals Sh1 billion is equivalent to a murderer. How many people would die in hospitals for lack of medicine as a result of the theft?” Savula said at the time.

The legislator said there were many “big thieves” living in their homes while petty thieves rot in the jails.

How unkind of us all to hope that a politician will be held to his own insistences.

Ralph Waldo Emerson did have something on this point. Interesting what those Dead White Men have to say relevant to the modern world:

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.