President Uhuru Kenyatta declares corruption a national security threat
SEE ALSO :Renewables top 90pc of Kenya’s powerFor Government, we are introducing compulsory and continuous ethics and integrity training across all levels of the public service. I will insist on holding the most senior officials to a high standard of conduct. Fellow Kenyans, in regard to the rule of Law: This morning, I have received from the Private Sector, a proposed Bribery Bill. The Bribery Bill will focus on the supply side of corruption, on those who give bribes or induce public officials. Among other measures, it will also penalise the failure by the commercial sector to prevent bribery. I direct the Attorney General to begin the process of passing this into law as soon as is possible. We have signed Mutual Legal Aid agreements with a number of countries that have committed to identify and deal, in their jurisdictions, with illicit wealth acquired in Kenya. We will look to sign more such agreements and follow them up for implementation.
SEE ALSO :It pays to put cash in empowering peopleWe will also become stronger players in the diplomatic arena in encouraging actions that promote global financial integrity.We must make the world as inhospitable for corruption as it is for terrorism financing. I urge all our partners to enact similar laws because we know that bribery knows no boundaries. I am directing the Attorney General to complete the work with all stakeholders to quickly enact a whistle-blower protection legislation that will ensure that those who come forward with information on corrupt practices are protected. I have met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, and with the head of the Financial Reporting Centre, to discuss and agree with them how we can ensure the banking system is not used to launder the proceeds of theft and fraud. From today those banks that break our anti money laundering laws and regulations will, at a minimum, lose their banking licences. But that is not all: the directors and senior officials of such banks are now on notice that they will be pursued relentlessly, individually and collectively, in accordance with the law, should they succumb to the lure of breaking our anti money laundering laws and regulations. Finally, the Central Bank and the Financial Reporting Centre are, as a matter of urgency, strengthening their supervision capabilities over banks. Following discussions with the Hon. Chief Justice, I am pleased to announce that he has committed to work with the National Council of Administrative Justice to actualize Fast Tracking prosecution of corruption and economic crimes as envisaged in the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act. He has also assured me that he will make every effort to ensure the setting up a division of the High Court on Corruption and Economic Crimes. With a view to ensure we have the necessary institutional framework to sustain this war against corruption, we will review the legal and institutional framework on Customs and Border Protection. In the meantime, I am directing the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service to ensure that all staff working in the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Customs and Immigration departments to undergo integrity and competency vetting by an independent multi agency vetting mechanism. In order to streamline Government and thereby also reduce opportunities for theft and wastage, we will immediately enact the Parastatal Reform Bill. This is the least we can do to reflect the Prudence that the Constitution enforces on us. Last Friday, the Attorney General presented me with the recommendations by the Task Force on Review of the Legal Policy and Institutional Framework for Fighting Corruption in Kenya that I called for last March during the State of the Nation address. I have directed the immediate implementation the recommendations made particularly prioritising those that will ensure we fulfil our goal of building strong cases, reclaiming assets and achieving convictions. Within Government, I will lead a national coordinated effort bringing together Parliament, the Judiciary, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Department of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission, the Asset Recovery Agency and the Financial Reporting Centre to reverse perverse incentives that lead to corruption, close the loop-holes that dishonest officials use to steal and to tighten our legislation work, to improve our investigations and prosecutions. Fellow Kenyans, on securing the public procurement from corruption and cutting wastage in government: I am also directing that with immediate effect no public goods and supplies will be procured at prices above the prevailing market price by any public agency at the national and county level. The Public Procurement Oversight Authority shall henceforth widely publish its periodical price reference list for goods and services. I am also directing the PPOA to forward to my office a compliance report on this directive, once every quarter, for action in accordance with article 226(5) of the Constitution. Delay in government making payment for goods and services it has received plays a big part in creating incentives for bribery and rent seeking. I am also announcing that every Accounting Officer shall be held responsible for ensuring that all payments for goods and services are paid for in a timely manner as prescribed in the supply contract. The Ethics And Anti- Corruption Commission, The Criminal Investigation Department and the Asset Recovery Agency, which we are operationalising immediately, will institute proceedings to recover monies from companies that through collusion with public officials supplied above price reference lists. On the other hand, private sectorvendors who do not deliver on time, or deliver substandard goods, will be penalised and barred from any future supply of goods and services to the government. Kenya has some of the most tech savvy people in Africa, and our IT sector is rightly renowned for its innovation and leading edge products. We will tap this home grown talent to develop accessible technology platforms. I call upon Kenyan innovators to develop accessible technology platforms that allow citizens and customers to report bribe demands, inordinate service delays and corrupt practices in Government departments. The data produced will be publicised and available to the Presidency to hold responsible officers to account. All Accounting officers, AIE holders and Supply chain officers will be held personally liable for approving or allowing any supply of goods and services with companies that have been barred or disqualified under the Business Code of Ethics and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act. To reverse the perverse incentive of government officials traveling as a way to earn money, we will introduce travel wallet cards for all State Officers and Chief Executive Officers of State Corporations. This will also allow my office to monitor the extent of their travel against the value that they deliver in doing so. I am directing where any public officer has through their actions or inaction caused loss of public resources, that a surcharge of the said public officers in accordance with Articles 226(5),201(d); and 232(b) of the Constitution be done. Any individual, director or corporate entity from the private sector who aids, abets or participate in supply of goods and services in violation of article 201(d); 226(5) and 232(b) shall also be subject to proceedings to recover any loss of public funds. They shall also be liable for every available criminal sanction and shall be debarred from participation in public procurement for a period of 5 years. Working together with the private sector, we are accelerating the full operationalisation of the E-Procurement system and ensure the same is rolled out to all Government departments. The relevant government agencies must accelerate the digitisation of government services and the institution of electronic invoicing and digital payments. This will seal loopholes of revenue losses. I am also directing the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service to oversee the integration of all government digitisation to allow for cross-referencing between various government databases and facilitate multi-location access by enforcement officers. It has come to light, that the design of plans and budgets is increasingly becoming vendor driven. I believe that we should now separate the planners and budgeters from the implementers and spenders. I am tasking the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service to design an Office of Management and Budget under the Presidency. The Presidency will produce a President’s Budget working with the Parliamentary Budget Office. This will ensure that I drive priorities, oversight and reduce influence peddling in budgeting, while ministries and departments concentrate on implementation and service delivery. I am of the mind fellow Kenyans that we in government should take better care of your money before we ask you for more taxes. I am therefore going to insist that we have no increase in the overall government tax in the next financial year. I direct every State agency seeking to increase its tax must demonstrate to my office the need for the change and commensurate benefits for example NHIF and their new rates. In the past, my Government has issued some of the policy statements I have announced. I have not been satisfied with a lot of the implementation, partly in regard to poor coordination and the red tape involved in implementing a new constitutional dispensation. For this reason, from now henceforth, the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service will be reporting to me on a weekly basis on progress in implementing the measures I have announced today. I believe that corruption is a standing threat to our national security. The bribe accepted by an official can lead to successful terrorist attacks that kill Kenyans. It can let a criminal off the hook for them to return to crime and harming Kenyans. Terrorism itself is a national security threat. The damage to our economy puts millions of lives at peril and undermines our very aspirations as a nation. I am therefore declaring with immediate effect corruption as a national security threat. I direct the all security agencies, the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission, the Asset Recovery Agency and the Financial Reporting Centre to take cognizance of this.Indeed, last Friday I nominated the chairperson and members of the EACC. I have transmitted their names to the National Assembly for vetting. The National Intelligence Service should pursue information and intelligence on the corruption and bring it to my attention, and to the attention of the relevant investigating and prosecution bodies. The National Security Advisory Committee should add corruption, particularly that which impacts security, in its agenda and advise to the National Security Council. I want to again urge the DPP, the EACC, the Judiciary, Parliament, the private sector, and all Kenyans, including government officials, to rally around our path of transformation. The only way we will make it to Vision 2030 and Beyond as a prosperous, secure and dignified Kenya is for us to relentlessly fight the evils that are Abuse of Office, Fraud, Bribery and Wastage. We will win this fight. Not least because Kenyans for the first time in decades have strong tools to demand accountability. The Constitution we passed has provided for ample provisions which when implemented, not only in letter but in spirit, hold public officials, and indeed all Kenyans, to account. We will make it expensive for anyone stealing from Kenyans and denying them education, health, security, infrastructure, water and other services that they work so hard to receive form their government. I call on every Kenyan to be the eyes, ears, and voice of this redoubled national effort. My office will spearhead these actions and hold everyone I have mentioned today responsible to deliver. Thank you GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS KENYA
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