Lack of access to information has been cited as a major setback in the fight against corruption.
A survey on corruption trends in the country revealed that lack of transparency in both the public and private institution created a conducive environment for the vice to thrive as most institutions kept information related to financial transactions and resources allocations secret.
The survey done by the Commission on Administrative Justice [CAJ] indicated that public institutions including state corporations scored poorly in giving out their information on procurement, resources utilization, how they make decisions and staffing.
“However the institution scored over 90 percent on other issues especially on how are they their policies and procedures, their service charter “said chairperson of commission on Administrative Justice Hon Florence Kajuju during release of the survey today at a Nairobi hotel .
The report further indicted some county governments for withholding all their information since they had no channels to communicate to the public such website and publications making difficult to know the ongoing.
The survey cited Nairobi , Elgeyo Marakwet and Kenya Power & Lighting Company [KPLC] whose contract related details were shrouded in mystery to cover up financial improprieties at the offices.
“It’s amazing that KPLC advertised 198 contracts but only 44 of them were published and access to information to the other 154 tenders was withheld.” Said Kajuju.
However, Makueni county emerged the most open to information delivery to the public and was ranked the best in access to information as it published financial transaction, resources allocations, salaries remunerations its website in real time.
Speaking during the launch, chairperson of AJ at the national assembly Hon William Cheptumo said that the country cannot win war on graft unless there is access to information in all institutions.
He noted that bill on access to information will enforce the institutions to release the needed information in the fight against corruption and as will improve service delivery to citizens.
Cabinets Secretary of Information, Communication and Technology Joe Mucheru while presiding over the launch underscored government efforts in provision of modern communication technology infrastructures to help the other institutions communicate effectively as well improve public access to information.
On his speech read on his behalf by his Principal Secretary Fatuma Hirsi the CS noted that the ministry had by last month opened eight communication boosters station for Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation [KBC].
The commission has trained 3580 officers drawn from Counties and national government on access to information in capacity building to ensure that all public and private institutions avail information as required by law.
By Denson Mututo and Judith Mshimba