Officers face suits over wealth declaration

Francis Openda
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
September 16, 2005

Public officers who have not declared their wealth may from next week find police officers knocking at their doors, ready to bundle them off to court.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi yesterday instructed the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, to prosecute all officers who have not declared their wealth. He told a workshop on wealth declaration at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies that despite the Public Officers Ethics Act 2003 stipulating that all public officers have to declare their wealth by December 31 of each year, many had failed to comply.

“I am very happy because the Director of Public Prosecutions is here to see that these people are lined up in court beginning next week,” he said.

When the Narc government took power in January 2003, it introduced wealth declaration for public servants in its bid to track ill-gotten wealth and ensure zero tolerance on corruption.

Kiraitu said he was personally up to date in submitting his wealth declaration forms but said while the EMU survey showed serious cases of non-compliance the relevant commissions had not taken any action.

Tobiko, who was present at the workshop, later told journalists that he would write to all the responsible commissions and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission to forward the files of defaulters to his office for action.

“I will definitely prosecute those who have defaulted in submitting their returns,” he said.

Kiraitu, who was addressing representatives of the various commissions designated to receive the wealth declaration forms, said the Act was enacted to create an environment of zero tolerance to corruption and root out the vice in public offices.

A lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Dr Karuti Kanyinga, said two years down the line nothing seems to suggest that the strategy of wealth declaration has worked in the fight against corruption.

“It is merely seen as a formality as the forms have not been used to track theft of public property,” he said.

He said the exercise is likely to be taken for granted unless action is taken against those who don’t comply and data used to unearth illegally acquired wealth.

Categories: Africa, Kenya, Odious Debts

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