What you need to know:
- A new report by the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee has highlighted numerous irregularities in government agency spending patterns during the 2013 to 2018 period. Several parastatals with massive state budgets might be culpable of flawed procurement and financial impropriety.
Recent reports that at least 11 state corporations might be the subject of wide-scale anti-graft investigation comes as good news during this global health pandemic.
The fact that the government’s anti-corruption campaign is still in full swing despite the public health issues that we face is a good reminder that no matter the obstacle, the development goals set out by President Uhuru Kenyatta are critical.
A new report by the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee has highlighted numerous irregularities in government agency spending patterns during the 2013 to 2018 period. Several parastatals with massive state budgets might be culpable of flawed procurement and financial impropriety.
The committee is chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir says that some state corporations blatantly violated the law by undertaking irregular procurement processes. As a result, these irregularities led to bloated project costs which bled the national coffers dry.
Some of the corporations include Kenya National Highways Authority, the Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Pipeline Company, National Irrigation Board, Kenya Ports Authority, Communications Authority of Kenya and the Kenya Investment Authority.
It is sad to see that corruption has been taking place in such major state agencies, but it is nevertheless not surprising. Unfortunately, graft is a large part of our nation’s political culture.
MPs are calling on the DCI and the EACC to launch an investigation immediately. If irregularities are proven, all culprits should be arrested.
One way that government agencies can encourage graft is by flawed procurement practices. This could include producing fake receipts for goods and services that were never delivered, or sending money to shell companies that receive cuts of the national budget without doing anything. Or, corrupt officials could arrange for payments to associates to be much larger than what the correct price is, which allows them to account for taking much more money from the budget than is actually needed for a given project.
Kenyan state agencies are no strangers to fiscal impropriety. However, it seems that this really may be the end of this kind of immoral behaviour in our country.
The anti-corruption NGO Transparency International has ranked Kenya 137 out of the 180 most corrupt countries in the world - with 180 being the most corrupt. This is an embarrassment.
Furthermore, our corruption score is 28 out of 100, with 100 being the worst.
Kenya has a lot of work to do in this regard, and the only way is if we actively call for an end to it. We are fortunate that right now, the change is coming from the top.
If those with the most power in government were facilitating corruption, it would be impossible even to speak about it like this, let alone demand change.
Uhuru recognises that if he wants to be remembered as Kenya’s most progressive president, the place to begin is with building trust between the government and the people. While we are all familiar with low level financial corruption in our daily lives - bribery in schools, police stations and hospitals, for example - I think that many of us are more angered by public officers taking advantage of us. And it is not all of our elected officials conspiring against us - it is a few rotten apples.
Even though it seems like all the news in Kenya for the past four months has been Covid-19 related, there are righteous leaders who are continuing with what they set out to do.
While many obstacles stand in the way, many more opportunities are also available if we choose the right path. Some fair and moral MPs really are trying to make positive changes in Kenya, and we should not be so cynical about it.
Ms Anyango comments on topical issues. [email protected]