Majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption

Nairobi, Kenya February 22, 2018//… Transparency International has today released this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index report. The report shows that majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption. Further, the report analysis shows that countries with the least protection for press and civil society tend to have the worst rates of corruption.  Given the harsh crackdown on media freedom and civil society happening currently, more action is urgently needed protect who are loudly speaking against corruption that is largely involving connivance of government officials and corporations.

The Transparency International report comes few months after the Kenya National Audit Office released its report on expenditures by different government of Kenya departments and agencies, which was deeply disturbing.   Report shows Kenya has normalized stealing of public resources.

The shameful report shows that the reality on the ground in Kenya is quite different from the government’s pronouncements. Corruption has serious high cost both for Kenya enterprises, attempts to attract foreign investment and wellbeing of the wider Kenyan society.

This report shows Kenya has sold its soul to corruption. It indicates that the country is the most corrupt in the developing countries. Corruption can no longer be described as a cancer on the system. It is the system

The report proves that corruption is deeply widespread in Kenya public service and political system thrives mainly in the public sector, among politicians, law enforcement and is facilitated by the relative weakness of the management of public resources.

The single biggest enemy to entrepreneurship and doing business in Kenya is corruption.

Whether it is bribery, embezzlement, or the misuse of public funds, corruption is corrosive.  It erodes the public’s confidence.  Moreover, it undermines and destroys economy.

Corruption has real costs.  It scares investors and stifles economic growth.  It decreases investment and trade.  It costs jobs for people.

 Corruption has destroyed the integrity of the country’s financial, political and economic systems and reputation.

Pervasive corruption is siphoning revenue away from the public budget. it is grossly  undermining the rule of law and the confidence of citizens in their governments( national and County). it is  facilitating human rights abuses and organized crime, empowering authoritarianism and accountable political leadership. It is threatening democratic peace, security and stability of the country.

Corruption has critically weakened the law enforcement and police. It is exposed the country to terrorism, transnational organized crime and made the country the safe haven for international criminals.

By some estimates, corruption increasing the cost of doing business by at least ten percent. It is denying young people jobs. The country cannot afford this plundering and waste.

The impact of corruption on Kenya runs even deeper.

Countless studies link corruption to increasing levels of poverty and income inequality. For example, corruption is diverting public funds away from schools, hospitals, roads, water, power plants, and other basic infrastructure.

That is why fight against corruption is so important.

Pervasive official graft in the Jubilee Government has created deep resentments, disappointment an apathy amongst Kenyans and undermined the integrity of the President Uhuru Kenyatta regime. Entire government institutions have become enmeshed in complex patronage networks that stretch from junior functionaries to high-ranking ministers.

Solutions

 Fighting corruption requires a strong legal framework that complies with international standards. The country urgently needs tough legal regime stemming out conflict of interest and barring state/public officials from doing business with state. To stem out high-level official corruption, ban public officials from doing business with the State

If Kenya wants to tackle both high level and petty corruption decisively, the public trust in key criminal justice institutions such as the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Police Service and the Criminal Investigation Department needs to be restored. The vital first step in doing this is to ensure that a competitive and transparent process takes place when appointing the leadership of these entities

Civil servants are the apex cog in the plundering the public purse and government must act. Government of Kenya must unreservedly prohibit public servants from doing business including deals/tenders with government and to seriously penalize defaulters. This will stop officials manipulating tenders in favour of a company that secured the state’s business.

What are at stake are not the rights of state employees to do business, but rather the integrity of the state procurement system. The current public procurement environment is conducive to corruption and manipulation. The problem is further compounded by the lack of accountability and punishment for procurement irregularities and wasteful expenditure.

Anti-Corruption, public officer’s ethics, Public Service and Public financial management laws must be amended to bar public officials from doing any business with the state either directly or indirectly. The country has good constitution but no-one is playing by it. It is irresponsible and foolhardy to place public employees in positions where they can (or are tempted to) manipulate procurement and other procedures to unfairly benefit themselves at the expense of the state/taxpayer.

The government must put in place a watertight system for disclosure, verification and enforcing compliance. Cracking down on the business interests of civil servants is not enough. It must go hand in hand with a similar prohibition for elected representatives.

Apart from banning public officials from doing business with state, they must declare the business interests of their extended families – including spouses, siblings, cousins and other relatives – so that any conflicts of interest can be managed.

The country would need to fix its civil service if it was to prosper. It must taken tough measures to address scourge of corruption among public servants in terms of conflicts of interest. It is criminal and unethical behaviour that keeps making billions of public money disappear into the pockets of state employees each year.

Public Service Commission must take stern measures to tackle alarming increase in the cost of financial misconduct of public officials. The culture of no consequences in public service must stop.

Kenya desperately need more close law enforcement cooperation and sharing of information to stem out top-level government corruption and cohorts in private business.

Where governance systems are transparent, responsive, accountable and participatory, they deliver benefits and quality services that meet the needs of the people who need them most. We must enhance government accountability and transparency. If we want to build a society that is sustainable and stable in the long-term, we must be prepared to take full responsibility for the changes that will be required to more effectively manage public sector resources.

 

It cannot be business as usual. It cannot be passing the buck and explaining away a grave concern. It is not matter of appearing before the County Assembly, Senate or National assembly Committees to clear names.

Providing complete information on all transactions demonstrates accountability and stewardship; reinforces credibility; and provides clear and comprehensive information regarding the financial consequences of economic, political, and social decisions.

We are demanding that both national and County  Governments  do more to enhance the transparency and accountability of public finance spending, including: publishing detailed budgets, sharing  detailed  information on actual financial flows, strengthening the transparency of public procurement, and improving internal  auditing. Further we are urging  the Office of the Control of Budgets not to approve any budget expenditure to  all agencies both of national  and county government  that have been cited by Auditor General for loss public funds  until full accountability has been addressed.