Kenyans could have access to the wealth information of top State officials such as the President should MPs accept to change the law on lifestyle audits.
The Lifestyle Audit Bill, 2021 is a second attempt to remove a restrictive clause that denies the public access to the information on income, assets and liabilities of persons holding public office.
A similar proposal suffered a setback in 2019 after it failed to meet its review timelines. Both bills have been sponsored by Nominated Senator Farhiya Ali Haji.
The Lifestyle Audit Bill, 2021 seeks to scrap section 30 of the Public Officer Ethics Act of 2003 that protects civil servants’ wealth from public scrutiny.
The law stipulates that all self-declared wealth declaration forms be made available online on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) website.
“The contents of a declaration or clarification (on income, assets and liabilities) under this Act shall be accessible to the public,” says the Bill.
“Lifestyle audit may be carried out on the immediate family of a public or a State officer if it is established that a property in question is owned by the public or State officer or members of their immediate family, including joint ownership,” it adds.
The Lifestyle Audit Bill which is before the Senate also imposes a fine of at least Sh5 million or a two-year jail term or both on State officers who provide false information.
In 2018, President Uhuru called for the Lifestyle Audit of State Officers saying no one would be spared including himself.
“All the governors and Cabinet Secretaries will be audited after the two of us (Uhuru and Ruto) before all other Government officials are subjected to the same exercise.
“We are aware some of these corrupt individuals have registered their wealth, including cars and houses, in the names of their spouses and children. We will go for them also,” Uhuru said.