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Corrupt Public Officials put on notice

Kiambu County Commissioner (CC) Joshua Nkanatha has warned Government officials in the County to steer clear of corruption when offering services to the citizenry or even implementing projects.

The CC who held a corruption prevention meeting  at his boardroom tasked those in charge of various government dockets that offer free services to the community to do so without asking for bribes.

“Any service that a member of public is supposed to receive freely should be gotten free and not charged in any way”, he said warning officers who he said have been using brokers to fleece residents for services rendered.

He added that corruption had led to many unplanned, abandoned projects that were supposed to have a social impact on the public but due to corruption they had stalled and yet at inception enough money had been allocated for a complete project.

Nkanatha emphasized on the need for officers to be responsible terming their offices as the mirror of government and therefore should display a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and lead in the fight against it.

“Good governance is the opposite of corruption, and that is why the government offers free services but the end user are always paying for the services through bribes and, brokers who are criminals and this should not be the case” he said.

He specifically named those dockets that primarily deal directly with the wananchi such as civil registration, crime units, lands and even some Chiefs who before offering service ask for a bribe in order to resolve a dispute.

“Transparency international ranks Kenya among the most corrupt countries at 42 Percent. Corruption is also between a giver and a taker but the takers are the ones who introduce the corruption. I hope that you as the takers will be able to serve wananchi without asking for a bribe” Nkanatha said.

Those who stand on the way of resolve of government to fight corruption will face the law and agencies such as the EACC, NIS, DCI and ODPP will be involved and have been instructed to make sure action is taken against those caught”, Nkanatha said .

At the same time the County Commissioner has also warned officers who perennially do not report to their work stations.

“Most of you are out of their duty stations all the time for personal businesses. The red flag in the delivery of government services must stop. You are the face of the government in your area of work to the public and you should be there to render services”, he said

Officers, Nkanatha continued to say have abdicated their roles, People who are out of their duty stations and not doing what they are supposed to be doing but instead using the government time and resources on their personal businesses.

“So, we are putting all of us including myself on notice. We must be working with the government where we are supposed to be in our policies. When we are out there, we have something We should fight and that is corruption, remember this, in whatever form, in whatever way in whichever style. That’s the word”, Nkanatha said.

Everlyne Olunga from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Kiambu concurred with the CC saying corruption is a key agenda in government offices and we can no longer pretend its not there.

Speaking on the subject of corruption involving the stakeholders she works with, who are the police and Judiciary, Ms Olunga said one will find criminals who either cannot be able to penetrate through the police, they try through the prosecutions and if they cannot they do so at judiciary level and this has seen many people suffering because of the exchange of money.

She gave an example of a case that has seen those arrested using even goons to try and disrupt some of the cases in court, sometimes one finds no action is taken against a criminal and yet the complainant who keeps on coming every day to the court nothing happens.

“A file is forwarded in my office. We are supposed to objectively and independently look at the file but you end up finding someone has made a decision to charge when the case is maybe civil or there is no evidence. That is corruption. And again, the case goes to court acted within the law but in the end, corruption was involved”, she explained and acknowledged that one much later finds out that there was a conspiracy between prosecutor and police.

She mentioned probation officers whose opinion should be normally persuasive and guide the court but one finds out that the court has taken the opinion of the probation office and issued a lean sentence or offered probation in a matter that should have warranted a stiffer penalty and sentencing.

“Any officer who is corrupt, I will tell you has acted so swiftly on that. So, I’m urging you, if you hear anyone, even in my office, because I can’t pretend, in every institution there are rogue officers and sometimes it is done in such a way that you can only see the end game. I urge you to report on any small thing you find wrong, my office is open “, she said

Olunga said all issues of corruption normally end up in the judiciary and prosecution since her office is the gateway and in order for them to reach the court it has to go through the office and therefore before she puts a pen to sign a charge sheet, she is supposed to ensure there is sufficient evidence.

“Help fight corruption which is everywhere. Let us be people of integrity, who have a conscience. Let us feel for our people”, Olunga added.

The President in a circular in May this year issued  through Head of Public Service  a proclamation on the fight against  corruption stating categorically that he will not tolerate corruption in any ranks across the government

He directed all government office to implement corruption prevention measures in their institutions emphasizing on the legal and policy provisions regarding the management of public resources and the need for accountability, transparency, and responsiveness

By Wangari Ndirangu

 

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