EACC launches compliance monitoring of Inua Jamii programme

EACC chairperson Bishop David Oginde and the commission's CEO Twalib Mbarak. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has launched compliance monitoring of the Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT), under Inua Jamii programme.

The OPCT programme is under the State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizens Affairs.

EACC Director Preventive Services Vincent Okong’o said the monitoring is meant to ensure the programme is effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and free of corruption.

The exercise, he said comes after the report of the Auditor General for the National Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the Year 2020-2021, exposed malpractices in the programme that included irregular payment of commission to the six banks administering the scheme and presence of deceased beneficiaries in the Inua Jamii programme payroll.

Others were money held in banks and not transferred to the beneficiaries, lack of functioning internal audit hence no proper enforcement of controls, ineffective audit committee, weak information technology-internal controls within the state department.

The report also revealed that beneficiaries shared similar bank account numbers, registered in more than one social protection programme and unreliable and inefficient call centre number 1533 among others.

“This is why we need to work together to eliminate the above malpractices and make the programme transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of targeted beneficiaries,” said Okong’o.

He was speaking during the launch of the compliance monitoring of Inua Jamii programme at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection offices in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Okong'o said this marks a milestone in EACC's quest to strengthen the systems and procedures of work for the OCTP programme that is positively impacting the social welfare and the well-being of our older persons and the society at large.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (2019), approximately 2.2 million (4.2 per cent) of the Kenyan population comprised of people aged 60 and above.

The 2019 census estimated that older people comprised 6 per cent or 2.7 million of the population.

This number is expected to increase to 10.3 per cent by 2050 due to better health outcomes, improved nutrition and advanced technology in treatment, early intervention and cure of diseases among others.

The total number of beneficiaries in the OCTP was 733,697 as at December 2023 and the budget for the current financial year is Sh17 billion.

The government through the State Department for Social Protection plus to enroll an additional 500,000 elderly and vulnerable Kenyans gradually into the OCTP programme for those aged 70 and above.

The compliance monitoring exercise, Okong’o said is being undertaken pursuant to section 11 1(g) and (i) of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, 2011.

He explained that the exercise will help to determine whether the State Department for Social Protection is managing the OPCT programme efficiently, transparently, and prudently in accordance with the laws and regulations in place.

Okong'o noted that the exercise will focus on the four main elements of start-up and mobilisation, targeting and enrollment, payment and change management.

The EACC monitoring team consisting of five people will look into the policies, legal and institutional framework, procedures, processes and work practices adopted in the OPCT programme.

The exercise will be carried out within the Ministry’s head office in Nairobi and selected regional or county offices.

‘‘The team will also visit and hold discussion with officers from other governments departments and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of the programme,’’ said Okong’o.

The terms of reference for the team will be to study the existing systems, policies, procedures and practices used in the cash transfer programme, ascertain the effectiveness of the systems; policies, procedures and practices in enhancing integrity and efficiency in the programme.

It will also identify and profile areas of weaknesses, loopholes and avenues for non-compliance to regulatory requirements including challenges in the system; and finally prepare a report of findings and recommendations to be presented to the leadership of the Ministry.

Okong'o announced that the monitoring will commences on March 7, 2024 and is expected to take a period of 30 days for data collection and another 30 days for report writing, after which a report of findings and recommendations will be prepared and submitted to the Ministry for implementation.

"The Commission will thereafter monitor progress and evaluate results," he said.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore welcomed the exercise, saying it will be critical in unearthing weaknesses in the governance of the cash transfer programme.

"We shall be happy to receive the findings which will no doubt help to streamline the cash transfer programme," said Bore.

The cs said since inception, the Inua Jamii programme has gone through a raft of reforms with the view to enhancing efficiency in programme operations.

“Until 2013, the programme was largely paper-based. Presently, it has a Consolidated Management Information System that has enabled the automation of all operational components including registrations, payments, grievance and change management and reporting,” she said.

“As the programme continues to scale up, it is important that we continue to improve its efficiency. This exercise is therefore timely since the programme will benefit from the compliance monitoring findings and recommendation," she added.