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Lifestyle audit to be extended to all public staff

By Geoffrey Mosoku | Published Wed, August 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 7th 2018 at 22:41 GMT +3

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the 5th Annual Devolution Conference 2018 via video link from State House, Nairobi. [Photo: Standard]

The Government has widened the scope of wealth declaration to thousands of civil servants and fast-tracked the deadline for submissions.

The new directive affects all cadres in the public service who are expected to fill a new wealth declaration form that requires specific disclosures, including contracts for goods and services, any consultancies, sponsorship by firms, including overseas trips, and plans for future employment.

The initial wealth declaration form was more general with regards to information on assets and liabilities.

The requirement for more detailed information is designed to expose potential conflict of interest, and a prior filled schedule of registrable interests is attached as a guide to what is expected of the recipients.

The State commenced the exercise last month and by last Friday, the more than 62,000 civil servants were expected to have furnished the Public Service Commission (PSC) with vital information, in soft and hard copy, on their dealings.

Civil servants

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Coming months after heads of accounting and procurement departments were sent on leave to pave the way for the audit, all civil servants have been asked to provide personal data and any information that could put them in a conflict of interest situation while working in the public sector.

“All public officers should submit the disclosures and submit the hard and soft copies to the respective heads of human resource for onward transmission to the Commission,” a circular dated July 26 and signed by PSC Deputy CEO Simon Rotich stated.

The memo was copied to all Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, the Attorney General, CEOs of all constitutional commissions and independent offices, statutory commissions and authorities, all State corporations and all vice chancellors of public universities.

The Commission says the disclosures are in line with the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012 as well as the Public Officers’ Code of Conduct and Ethics 2016 while describing the schedule of registrable interests as a tool for managing conflict of interest.

Although the Public Officers Ethics Act states that the declaration shall be submitted in December of every second year, the State workers were asked to conclude the exercise immediately.

They were asked to state any directorships in public or private companies, whether they are remunerated directly or indirectly, and to show any remunerated employment (including office, trade, profession or vocation that is remunerated or in which the public officer has any pecuniary interest).

They have also been directed to disclose any securities they have bought including shares, bonds, debentures or any other similar holding in a company or enterprise or undertaking the aggregate nominal or market value of which exceeds a prescribed value while the public officer was in office.

Provide information

An officer who has been involved in any business is required to provide information on contracts for supply of goods and services and its value; while those who have offered any public affairs advice and services to clients (public institutions) are expected to disclose the nature of consultancy and how much they were paid.

Under land and property, civil servants are required to disclose any plots they have and their terms such as leasehold, houses, car(s) owned, and any shareholdings (amounting or not amounting to a controlling interest) in a firm(s).

Officers who have benefited from any further studies/training under any form of sponsorship, whether from companies, trade unions, professional bodies, charities, universities or other organisations or individuals are expected to show the purpose of such, amount involved, duration taken and period of study.

Any travel facilities and overseas visits made by a public officer or the public officer’s spouse or child substantially catered for by the office of the public officer must also be disclosed.

Criminal cases

Also required is information on any pending civil and/or criminal cases touching on the public officer or business associate or firm, and possession of dual citizenship or pending applications for dual citizenship, and the status of such applications.

This came as the National Dialogue Conference on Values and Principles in the Public Service scheduled to be held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi from yesterday was postponed.

Alice Otwala, the commission's CEO, said in a dispatch from her office dated August 2 and addressed to all delegates, media and other stakeholders that a new date would be communicated.

“This is to inform you that due to unavoidable circumstances, the conference has been postponed to a later date that will be communicated to you.”

The conference was expected to bring together 1,500 top leaders in national and county government institutions, media, and civil society among other stakeholders.

Acting PSC chairman Peter ole Nkuraiyia had announced the hosting of the conference during a stakeholder meeting with journalists in Nairobi on July 25.

 


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