EACC bolsters war on graft with integrity code signing
A decision to enforce the constitution on matters of leadership and integrity saw newly elected, nominated and appointed state officers commit to integrity in addition to their oaths of office.
Last Thursday, governors and their deputies signed the integrity code, signifying their commitment that during their tenure, they will uphold integrity, protect public trust and not promote or engage in any form of corruption.
This was the first time they did so in public, which is in line with Section 40 of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, in the presence of a judge and magistrate and an Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) official.
Legislators as well as the president-elect and his deputy must also publicly commit to this code. So will state officers such as Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and county executive members (CECs).
The decision was arrived at by the EACC, Judiciary and the respective assumption of the office of governor committees.
“In this regard, the EACC pursuant to its oversight and enforcement mandate under Section 4(2) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, plans to enforce the aforementioned provisions of the law regarding signing and commitment to leadership and integrity codes by the newly elected state officers following the General Election held on August 9,” Mr Twalib Mbarak, the EACC Chief Executive said.
The law forbids state officers to take part in a tender for the supply of goods or services to a public entity in which he or she is serving or is otherwise associated with. It also states that state and public officers shall not open or continue to operate a bank account outside Kenya without the approval of the commission.
“A state officer who has reasonable grounds for opening or operating a bank account outside Kenya shall apply to the EACC for approval,” section 19 (2) of the law states.
The leaders are also required not to engage in activities that amount to abuse of office, misuse public resources, falsify any records, engage in wrongful conduct in furtherance of personal benefit or engage in actions that would lead to their removal from the membership of a professional body.
Moreover, the county bosses are required to maintain an open register of conflict of interest and notify the EACC in case of any changes.
“The law makes it mandatory for new state officers to sign the integrity codes before they assume office. EACC officials were and will be present in all swearing-in ceremonies across the country to witness the signing of integrity codes,” the commission’s corporate affairs and public communication officer, Mr Eric Ngumbi, disclosed yesterday.
In Parliament (National Assembly and Senate), the conduct of MPs is regulated by various laws that seek to uphold the dignity of their offices and facilitate the smooth execution of the House’s mandate.
These include the Constitution, the Leadership and Integrity Act, the Public Officer Ethics Act and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act.
Laws governing the conduct of members within the precincts of Parliament include the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act 2017, Speaker’s Rules and Standing Orders.
Some of the members of the incoming Parliament are facing cases in court. At least 12 MPs-elect are in court fighting charges while others have appealed their convictions.
Incoming lawmakers facing criminal cases include former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku (Nyaribari Masaba) and Senators-elect Danson Mungatana (Tana River), Allan Chesang (Trans Nzoia) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi).
Mr Manduku was elected on an ODM ticket while Mr Mungatana, Mr Chesang and Mr Cherargei were elected under the UDA party.
The multiplicity and duplication of various provisions and statutes that seek to regulate the conduct of MPs are thought to have the unintended consequence of creating uncertainty as to which relevant law is applicable in particular circumstances.
According to a fact sheet published by the National Assembly in 2018, there is an overlap between the provisions of the Parliamentary (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017, Public Officer Act and Leadership and Integrity Act.