Audit lifestyle of officials

Friday January 8 2016


More government agencies should borrow a leaf from the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority and subject their officers to lifestyle audits to ascertain their sources of wealth and whether the money they have invested is from their honest efforts.

Many public and State officers — in both the national and county governments — have made investments or engaged in spending that raise questions about their incomes.

Subjecting them to a lifestyle audit would reveal those who are honest and upright while exposing those who benefit at public expense.

However, such audits should not be treated as an end in itself, though they have deterrence value.

They should serve first as a basis for the prosecution of those who abuse their offices for private gain and secondly for the recovery of ill-gotten acquisitions.

Where necessary, such audits should be extended to the officers’ immediate circles of influence.

Where this is done, however, it should not be to criminalise industry or victimise the innocent but to protect public property and encourage propriety among public officials in their capacity as government employees.

Since corruption has a supply side, those in the private sector who perpetuate it should also face prosecution.