President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered an audit of procurement and tender contracts awarded by all State corporations in the past two years.
This means that all contracts awarded since the 2013 General Election that ushered his party into power will be scrutinised. State House warned that it would kick out corrupt officers from the public service.
The President is said to be getting upset with the increasing cases of fresh corruption under the Jubilee administration. Foreign diplomats have warned that these could adversely affect the country’s economy.
Two State agencies — the Efficiency Monitoring Unit and the Inspectorate of State Corporation — have been reactivated to bolster the new push to wage an internal war against graft.
The two agencies domiciled in the Deputy President’s office at Harambee House Annex are also expected to work closely with the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr Joseph Kinyua, in carrying out the audit that could see several State corporation heads kicked out of government or blacklisted.
Through an Executive Order issued last week cautioning public servants on ethics and integrity, Mr Kenyatta said his office had been receiving complaints of blatant breaches of ethical standards and theft of public resources by civil servants, State and public officers.
“These unsavoury, unethical and corrupt practices continue to be perpetuated and thrive in spite of various reminders and warnings,” said the order, which directed all State corporations to furnish State House with details of all procurements carried out or in the process of being carried out, “complete with contract value awardees for the financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15.”
Most government tenders rated at over Sh1 billion are mired in controversy because various vendors compete aggressively to beat their opponents and win the tenders or challenge them in court.
Sources within the government told the Nation that high-ranking officials, including Cabinet and principal secretaries mentioned in image-denting corruption cases, could be asked to leave if found culpable.
Questionable procurement deals worth billions of shillings have been reported at the Kenya Pipeline Corporation, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Ministry of Education, the standard gauge railway project and many other state organisations in the past two years.
Some members of the National Assembly’s Transport and Communications Committee were caught up in a dramatic scenario after they travelled to China last year and mingled with a major player in the SGR tender even before the contract was signed.
Recent claims of graft, including the scandal that has embroiled committees of the National Assembly, have also dented the country’s image internationally as it emerged that legislators could have been cutting deals with suspects in mega corruption scandals so that the MPs could write favourable reports or clear suspects altogether.
ON THE SPOTLIGHT
Kenya has also been on the spotlight since a private firm’s directors from the UK and US were earlier in the year found guilty of bribing Kenyan officials to award them tenders to supply printing services and to buy tyres respectively.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is also facing an anti-corruption investigation after its members accused each other of taking bribes and doctoring committee reports.
Yesterday, Attorney-General Githu Muigai told the Nation that the new resolve by the presidency to battle internal corruption was a major boost to the State Law Office and other government agencies involved in the campaign against corruption.
“I welcome the Executive Order Number Six because it reinforces the policy guideline already issued by the presidency on ethics and corruption,” said Prof Muigai.
“Getting rid of corrupt officers is a just deed. The President is entitled to remove corrupt Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries because he is actually the appointing authority. No law can prohibit a similar action on State corporation heads,” said the AG.