DECLARATIONS KEPT SECRET

30 counties unable to conduct lifestyle audits

Only 17 counties gazetted procedures for audits, others urged to do so by November 29

In Summary

• Administrative procedures on lifestyle audits ensure no public officer accumulates wealth not corresponding to their income.

• EACC chairman said on Thursday financial declarations and disclosures by public officials are a fundamental strategy to fight corruption and promote integrity.

 

EACC chair Eliud Wabukala at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on Thursday.
ETHICS WATCHDOG: EACC chair Eliud Wabukala at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on Thursday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Only 17 counties can legally conduct lifestyle audits of its employees but all 47 should do so.

The reason is that the 17 County Public Service Boards have developed and gazetted administrative procedures on Declaration of Income, Assets and Liabilities (DIALs).

The other 30 counties have not done so and on Thursday EACC chair Eliud Wabukala urged them to do so swiftly — by November 29. 

The year 2019 is the declaration year and county public service officers are required to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities between November 1 and December 31.

These gazetted administrative procedures are used to ensure no public officer accumulates wealth that does not correspond to their income.

The 17 qualified counties are are Mombasa, Kwale, Lamu, Samburu, Kisumu, Trans Nzoia, Machakos, Narok, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet.

Others are Vihiga, Nyandarua, West Pokot, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, and Kisii.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption chief Wabukala on Thursday said financial declarations and disclosures by public officials are a fundamental strategy employed by many countries to fight corruption and promote integrity in public service.

In Kenya, the Public Officer Ethics Act, 2003 provides for public officers to make the declarations.

However, they are not made public for citizens to scrutinise.

At the county level, Public Service Boards are charged with keeping custody of the declarations, verifying the contents, investigating breaches and imposing administrative sanctions for breaches.

Then, one would be proud to declare they're from Kenya whenever they're abroad. Today, when abroad, you don’t want to mention you're from Kenya lest people associate you with corruption.
EACC chair Eliud Wabukala

Speaking at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa, Wabukala urged the  30 counties yet to develop and gazette their administrative procedures on DIALs to do so before November 29.

In 2017, only 19 out of the 47 counties submitted the returns within the specified timelines for declaration of wealth.

The other 28 did not.

“These declarations make it possible for us to conduct lifestyle audits of public officers,” he told the newly appointed County Public Service Board members from all 47 counties.

The EACC chair said Kenyans are the only people who can eradicate the cancer of corruption and return the country to the days before the 1990s when Kenya was a respected brand.

“Then, one would be proud to declare they are from Kenya whenever they are abroad. Today, when abroad, you don’t want to mention that you are from Kenya lest people associate you with corruption,” Wabukala said.

He said Kenyans need to brand Kenya as a country of hope, a destination for everyone to enjoy. 

“The rebranding of the country will start with the counties,” he said.

Mombasa county devolution executive Seth Odongo, who represented Governor Hassan Joho, said the hard-tackle approach to fighting corruption has been ineffective.

“Instead, we need to use the soft approach where we have to change certain beliefs that are detrimental to integrity,” Odongo said.

He said: “The belief that you eat where you work is a poor way of working. That belief feeds corruption.”

(Edited by V. Graham)

EACC chair Eliud Wabukala and Mombasa county devolution executive Seth Odongo at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on Thursday.
PARTNERSHIP EACC chair Eliud Wabukala and Mombasa county devolution executive Seth Odongo at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on Thursday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI