, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has challenged County Public Service Boards to tighten their grip on corruption in devolved units.
Addressing officials of County Public Service Boards drawn from the 47 counties, EACC Deputy CEO Michael Mubea said the commission remained dedicated to tackling corruption, a commitment that could be proven from the number of corruption cases involving public servants it has dealt with so far.
He challenged the boards to take a cue from them by adopting measures that will prevent corruption from thriving in the counties.
“We have charged over 100 public officials from the counties,” he said during a workshop at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.
“We have Governors that are in court and more will be in court soon. In the financial year 2015/16 alone we recovered assets in cash of Sh700 million. From April 206 to date, we have had 21 cases in court out of which 18 have resulted into convictions.”
According to Mubea, the commission has achieved major milestones in realising requirements set out in Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and in particular the dictates of the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012.
Mubea however noted with concern that most institutions were still lagging behind in implementation of integrity regulations including developing registers of conflict of interest and gifts.
He pointed out that some counties were yet to develop specific leadership and integrity codes as required by law, something that could negatively affect the fight on graft in counties.
Some 45 County Assemblies have submitted their leadership and integrity codes so far according to Mubea, which amount to 85 codes – 66 of which have already been approved by the commission with another 19 said to be under review.
Embu and Isiolo County Assemblies are the only devolved legislative units that have not fulfilled this obligation.
Bungoma, Isiolo, Meru, Murang’a, Samburu, Siaya and Taita Taveta County Executive Committees are yet to submit their integrity codes to the commission as required by the Leadership and Integrity Act according to Mubea.
“The entities (County Executive Committee and County Assemblies) are in breach of section 37 of Leadership and Integrity Act which makes it mandatory for all public entities with state officers to develop and submit to the commission (EACC) such codes,” he noted.
Mubea cited the sentencing of Stephen Musina, a procurement officer at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital who was earlier this year jailed for two and a half years in prison for awarding a Sh1.22 million contract to a firm he had interest in for supply and delivery of surgical material, as one of the cases that County Service Board should work to combat.
According to Mubea, other institutions at the county level will have to play their role if corruption is to be rooted out of the public sector.
On her part, EACC Vice Chairperson Sophia Lepuchirit, called upon the boards to shun away from discriminating Kenyans when hiring for the county based on their ethnicity saying the actions amount to contravening the Public Officers Ethics Act.
“You should pick people who have integrity and the knowledge of what is to be done,” Lepuchirit said. “ If they bring somebody from the central region and you reject the doctor because he does not come from your ethnic community, then how will your people be treated.”
She further urged Kenyans to desist from cheering leaders accused of corruption as witnessed in the recent past whenever public officials appeared at the Integrity Centre for questioning saying corruption must not be politicised.