Kenya’s anti-graft watchdog, EACC, has warned political leaders against exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to advance their political agenda by branding donations financed through public funds.
In a letter to the Council of Governors (CoG), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission noted that the practice is against leadership integrity provisions since such donations are footed by the taxpayers.
“The commission’s attention has been drawn to an emerging practice where county officials are branding items such as sanitizer bottles, water tanks, masks, flour and related items with their personal portraits, creating an impression that the items are their personal donations towards emergency response for coronavirus disease,” wrote EACC boss Twalib Mbarak.
He said the commission will be monitoring governors’ adherence to the advisory during and after the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure compliance.
“The commission looks forward to continued synergy with the Council of Governors in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs in the Counties,” Mbarak said.
The anti-graft body boss said the commission has received complaints indicating that such branding is being used to advance personal interests.
Politicians found to have violated the advisory will be investigated to determine whether there was prudence in the usage of public funds in the projects. Those found to have breached the law will be prosecuted.
“For purposes of accountability and transparency, it would be prudent to make pronouncements to the public or place the name of the county on the items to demonstrate that the initiative is supported by the county government without necessarily including individual portraits or names,” Mr Mbarak wrote.
“The commission advises that each county government should put in place measures to ensure such practices do not occur.”