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Anti-graft agency changes integrity report after call to State House

By David Ohito | February 2nd 2016

The anti-graft authority last evening dramatically changed a report exposing State organs that had not complied with a key law on leadership and integrity.

The Leadership and Integrity Act of 2012 requires all public entities to develop specific codes of conduct for approval and gazettement by the anti-graft body.

According to a list posted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Presidency, Parliament and 44 county governments had not complied with the law as of January 8, 2016.

When The Standard in the afternoon asked State House to explain why the Office of the President and that of his deputy had not complied with the law, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu asked for time to give a comprehensive response.

However, he never returned the call but the EACC dispatched an updated list at around 6.30pm last evening.

On the new list, the Presidency — which brings together the Office of the President, the Deputy President and the Cabinet Office — had submitted their leadership and integrity codes to EACC and they had been approved.

“Below is a list of public entities with State officers indicating those that have submitted their leadership and integrity codes to EACC as at February 1, 2016,” read the dispatch.

The earlier list indicated that commissions, including the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), had submitted their leadership and integrity codes to the EACC but had not been approved. The same applied to the National Assembly.

EACC’s new list showed that the TSC and JSC's leadership and integrity codes were now under review, same as that of the National Assembly.

 Lifestyle audits

The lack of approved leadership and integrity codes means that top civil servants and MPs cannot be brought to account in cases of indiscipline. National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday said the parliamentary code of ethics had been developed and discussed and was contained in the Powers and Privileges Bill. “We passed the bill but it requires the input and concurrence of the Senate before it becomes law and is published by the EACC in the Kenya Gazette. The code is pending before the Senate,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure, however, said the National Assembly had not forwarded the bill to Senate. “I am not aware of the said Powers and Privileges Bill forwarded to the Senate as at the time of going on recess,” he said.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said there ought to be one code of ethics for the Senate and the National Assembly, as the institution of Parliament was one.

He challenged EACC to carry out lifestyle audits of top leaders.

Experts cautioned that without State officers being guided by a code of ethics, it was difficult to curb runaway corruption.

Transparency International Executive Director Samuel Kimeu said there was no progress in the war on corruption despite having a constitutional and legislative framework in place.

“It means there is total lack of commitment to fight corruption and to hold leaders accountable for their acts,” said Mr Kimeu.

He argued that many state officers had behaved badly in public, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

Gitobu Imanyara, an advocate of the High Court, said all efforts to fight corruption, ensure transparency and accountability in upholding national values were being undermined.

“This compliance status confirms fears that there is no genuine effort to fight corruption in national and county governments,” said Mr Imanyara.

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