Kenyan MPs face deadline to declare their riches

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Kenyan MPs face deadline to declare their riches

MPs have until the close of business Monday to declare their wealth to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in compliance with the law.

But the disclosures will be kept under lock and key as has been the practice since the Public Officers and Ethics Act was passed in 2003.

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Mr Muturi wants all the 349 MPs to hand in their declaration of income, assets and liabilities alongside those of their spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 years in accordance with the Act.

The declared forms will, however, not be available for public scrutiny since the Act does not allow disclosure of information on assets and liabilities declared by public officers.

The secrecy has denied the public the benefit of tracking MPs’ wealth accumulation on assuming office, which is what the legislation was intended to achieve.

“Having begun the term of 12th Parliament, Members of Parliament are reminded that section 27(5) of the Public Officers Ethics Act requires that every member of the National Assembly submits his/her initial declaration to the Speaker of the National Assembly,” Mr Muturi says in a memo to all MPs.

Section 26(1) of the Act stipulates that every public officer shall submit to the responsible commission for the public officer a declaration of the income, assets and liabilities for himself, spouse(s) and dependent children under the age of 18 years in accordance with the Act.

“Duly completed and sealed forms should be submitted to the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly on or before November 20, 2017,” says Mr Muturi.

In addition to disclosing income, assets and liabilities, the MPs are required to provide their full names, birth information, marital status, postal and physical addresses, nature of employment, names of spouse or spouses and those of their dependent children under the age of 18 years.

The lawmakers are also required to provide a detailed financial statement on income, assets and liabilities and a separate statement for each spouse and dependent children under the age of 18.

The MPs have been asked to declare their income, including but not limited to salary and emoluments and income from investments.

“The period is from the previous statement date to the current statement date. For an initial declaration, the period is the year ending on the statement date,” the declaration forms state.

On assets, the MPs are required to disclose ownership of land, buildings, vehicles, investments and financial obligations owed to them.

The lawmakers are further required to provide a comprehensive statement describing and approximating the amount of liabilities that they owe.

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