After weeks of apparent inaction, President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday moved to stem the plunder of the nation’s wealth through fraudulent tenders.
He declared corruption a national security threat and threw a noose around private companies which enriched their principals by robbing taxpayers.
Unveiling a raft of measures to fight corruption, the President said all companies doing business with county and national governments will now be required to sign and adhere to a business code of conduct.
Banks that break money laundering laws will lose their licences “at a minimum” and Kenya Revenue Authority and Immigration staff will be vetted for integrity and competency, Mr Kenyatta announced when he addressed the nation from State House, Nairobi, after meeting top business, national and county government leaders.
Mr Kenyatta said bank directors and senior officials “will be pursued relentlessly, individually and collectively, in accordance with the law, should they succumb to the lure of breaking our anti-money laundering laws and regulations”.
In the measures described by State House as “far reaching and comprehensive”, President Kenyatta brought together the three arms of government — the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive — in pledging a new assault against graft.
Speaking for the Legislature, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said Parliament would pass the necessary laws to fight corruption.
The chairman of the Council of Governors, Mr Peter Munya, said he would call an extra-ordinary governors meeting to address corruption.
In what appeared as a government move to confront corruption as a threat to national security, the President said the National Intelligence Service (NIS) will be incorporated to fight the crime by investigating and reporting on graft at all levels.
He ordered NIS to pursue information and intelligence on corrupt individuals and entities and report to him and other relevant investigating and prosecution institutions.
Mr Kenyatta said that any company that fails to comply with the code will be disqualified from doing business with the government for a period of not less than five years and the information made public.
In other tough measures aimed at clamping down on runaway corruption dogging his administration, the President said accounting officers and those with Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) and supply chain officers will be held personally liable for doing any government business with blacklisted companies.
“Companies, and their officials, guilty of breaching the code will further be delisted from all business association. I call upon all the Business Associations to comply with this requirement,” the President said.
The National Security Advisory Committee was also asked to add corruption, particularly that which impacts on security, to its agenda and advise to the National Security Council.
The President also directed the Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinnet, to enforce the requirement on integrity as enshrined in Chapter 6 of the Constitution “without fear or favour”.
“In order to streamline Government and thereby also reduce opportunities for theft and wastage, we will immediately enact the Parastatal Reform Bill. This is the least we can do to reflect the prudence that the Constitution enforces on us,” he said.
EACC'S TOUGH CHALLENGE
Mr Kenyatta also revealed that on Friday, he nominated the chairperson and members of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and forwarded their names to the National Assembly for vetting.
The anti-corruption onslaught, the toughest in the country’s recent past, was seen as meant to restore the Jubilee government’s public confidence which has been eroded by rampant corruption.
On Saturday, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru resigned following rampant loss of public funds in her ministry, including over Sh700 million from the National Youth Service.
By the end of last week, 72 individuals, including a principal secretary and five managing directors, were arraigned in court to face corruption-related offences.
This brings to 352 the total number of high-profile personalities charged in court for corruption or abuse of office in the last six months.
And with the recent revelations of how goods are supplied to the government at inflated prices, Mr Kenyatta said that would no longer happen and asked the Public Procurement Oversight Authority to publish its periodical price reference list for goods and services.