KACC cracks whip at Immigration Ministry

October 6, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) on Wednesday called for the formation of an inter-ministerial committee that will streamline civil registration processes such as deaths and births that occurred in the country.

This follows a report by the anti corruption watchdog citing numerous bribery incidences in the line ministries where it emerged that some officials demand as much as Sh5,000 to fast track the issuance for Kenyans.

KACC Director Patrick Lumumba proposed that all processes in public institutions be computerised to fight graft and help in the realisation of Vision 2030.

“Vision 2030 is not going to be realised by prayer and fasting. And the good Book tells us ‘remind them even if they know’. If humanity still treats the 10 commandments as if they were suggestions and recommendations from God you must know that this is not easy business,” he said.

Mr Ronald Wanyama who led the assessment added that there was a communication break down between the ministries involved that often led to the use of brokers.

“The lack of information provides an opportunity for district civil registrars to exercise discretion in decision making. Unchecked discretion is a loophole that can be taken advantage of and it makes implementation of programmes difficult,” he said. 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons, Emmanuel Kisombe further warned those in his Ministry who continued soliciting bribes saying they would face the sack.

“For example someone comes for their passports after getting a scholarship. Then you delay their passport for no reason and this person loses out on an opportunity and goes back home with tears and maybe even commits suicide. That makes you a murderer,” said Mr Kisombe.

The KACC also asked other public institutions to open themselves up for scrutiny by the public saying the country should be guided by Chapter Six of the Laws of Kenya touching on integrity.

“Prevention is given its pride of place because if we prevent corruption we save this country a lot of money that can be used elsewhere. And you will hear this cliché, ‘we want the big fish’ but we never remind ourselves that the little piranha is sometimes more deadly than the whale,” said Dr Lumumba.

Civil Registration Director, Joyce Mugo, noted that the biggest challenge in her department remained the lack of an automated system. She explained that it created loopholes in service delivery and allowed officials to engage in corrupt dealings.

“The manual systems create a fertile ground for corruption because they are inherently slow and we serve people who are very impatient. So when there is less capacity, services move slowly and the tendency to ask for a bribe becomes very high,” she said.

The report listed bribery, weaknesses in the registration process, delays in issuance of certificates, irregular issuance of birth and death certificates, forgery of certificates and poor record management as the inefficiencies and malpractices that tarnished the immigration ministry.

“We conducted interviews with various stakeholders including the education ministry, provincial administration, medical services, the Registrar General and others and our findings were that corruption existed in all the functional areas,” said Mr Wanyama.


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