NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – The Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) is calling on the government to appoint members of its occupation in positions of influence, for the profession to be better placed to police the activities of the building sector.
Speaking to Capital Business on Wednesday, IEK Chairman Francis Ngokonyo said engineers were most likely being wrongly blamed for the collapse of sub-standard buildings in the country.
“Sometimes I think we are judged wrongly as regards corruption within our trade, because we design and other people assign the jobs,” Mr Ngokonyo noted.
While launching the Building Code Review and Harmonisation Committee on Monday, Premier Raila Odinga issued a stern warning to professionals in the industry over what he termed as gross corruption and misconduct that has resulted in substandard construction work.
While concurring that corruption may be a wider problem, Mr Ngokonyo said that the IEK is willing to work with the government to curb this problem.
“We take the criticism boldly but we want engineers to be placed where action is taking place, so that we are not blamed for nothing,” Mr Ngokonyo said
“I would like to see a situation where an engineer has allocated a job to a wrong person and is blamed properly, and we’ll deal with this person as the institution.”
A member of the IEK and Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration and Finance at the Maseno University Professor Sibilike Makhanu concurred with the IEK chairman’s opinion.
“I think that sometimes engineers are not given the opportunity to exercise their solution.
You might find that when a disaster occurs or when maybe a solution is to be sought which is of an engineering matter that its in the hands of non-engineers and it could be administrators making the decision, thus we lose control over it,” Mr Makhanu observed.
He noted that the profession has two able institutions, namely the Engineers Registration Board (ERB) and the IEK, to govern the conduct of engineers in the industry.
Mr Makhanu said that the ERB has the mandate to de-register non performing engineers, while the IEK is in charge of the code of conduct.
He observed that if the two bodies were to be given proper support and mandate they should be more effective.
On the other hand, Mr Ngokonyo said the IEK would be approaching the government for a Sh20 million grant to assist it better police the engineering profession.