CSO’s Statement ahead of the Governance and Anti-Corruption Presidential Summit,

State House, 18th October 2016

The Society for International Development and Transparency International-Kenya re-affirm their commitment to fighting the cancer of corruption and improving the state of governance in Kenya. Corruption is the singular threat to the constitution vision of our nation, our national security and economy. 70% of all corruption is based on procurement. 20% of our public schools are currently at risk of land grabbing. 54% of Kenyans still believe having a personal relationship with a Public Officer guarantees them faster or better services and 46% believe a bribe is necessary to be effectively served. We believe there are four issues that need urgent executive attention.

Sealing Corruption in Public Procurement: The November 23rd Presidential directives declared an end to corruption and wastage in public procurement and committed to institute criminal proceedings and recover monies from both public officers and companies doing business with Government. Recent investigative research into the Market Prices Index revealed that the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (IPOA) currently sanctions the purchase of medical drugs and equipment at 30-300% higher than market prices (www.healthcorrupted.co.ke). The Office of the President needs to undertake a comprehensive review of ministries and parastatals with a view to surcharging Public Procurement Officers and other officials who have facilitated significant losses.

Reinvigorate and institute lifestyle audits: Our national value of integrity has been emasculated by the reluctance to institute public lifestyle audits at the highest level of the Cabinet and other State Officials. The current system intentionally does not take into account information that is available in the banking industry, Auditor General or the Kenya Revenue Authority. Cross-verification with other sources would reveal conflicts of interest as State Officials and their families continue manipulate the procurement system to supply services to the Government and/or represent clients that do so. The Office of the President must require all State Officials to undertake credible lifestyle audits within a year and make them public for verification.
Commence the Public Benefits Organisations Act (2013): After close to four years of conflict between the PBO sector and the state, five amendments to control funding, impose excessive executive control and destroy self-regulation, the new Devolution Cabinet Secretary commenced the Act without any changes on September 9th. The action was warmly welcomed by Public Benefits Organisations, Development Partners and Government officers. His leadership has found common ground between the sector and the state.

These gains are being undermined by the NGO Coordination Bureau. Under the current Bureau leadership, the sector has experienced arbitrary de-registrations, work-permit and registration denials as well as incessant and unsubstantiated public attacks on the credibility of PBOs. The Cabinet Secretary needs to be fully supported to return sanity to the management of the PBO sector, institute new regulatory leadership and commence the PBO Act.
Break through the silence on Extra-Judicial Killings: Kenyans sense of their public safety has been rocked by the numerous cases of unlawful police killings. Research by reputable public benefits organizations and media houses suggest that up to 142 civilians and police-officers have died since January 2016 (https://goo.gl/nxDf7k). Continued denial by the National Police Service and Cabinet Secretaries fails to reassure Kenyans that this matter is being taken as seriously as it should. Enactment of The Prevention of Torture Bill (2014) and the Coroners Services Bill of (2015) by the Attorney General, greater independence and resourcing of the Internal Affairs Unit and the official and comprehensive publication of police killings would go a long way to reversing the culture of impunity within the police service. The Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary could assist this process by hosting a stakeholder dialogue to find partnership strategies for reversing this trend.

Rapid consultation with Kenyans on twitter suggest that other issues that need addressing are accelerating the appointment of women to Cabinet, Ministry and Parastatals in the line with the constitutional vision of two thirds, transforming the current poor audit performance of Ministries and the looming danger of Kshs 3.2 trillion debt burden. The gender question presents both legal and political accountability questions. The continued disregard for the constitutional a third gender principle casts doubt on our commitment to the rule of law.
We thank you for the opportunity to address these issues at this State House Summit on Governance and Anti-Corruption and trust you will treat these matters with the urgency they require.

Irũngũ Houghton                                                                

Associate Director                                                                
Society for International Development      

 

Samuel Kimeu

Executive Director

Transparency International Kenya
 

Contact: Caroline Gaita Njiiri | Email: cnjiiri@sidint.org | 0722 738 387

            : Mercy Gachengo | Email: mgachengo@tikenya.org. | 0705 870053