Counties On EACC Radar Over Corruption

August 21, 2023

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has called upon governors to take a key role in leading the fight against corruption at the devolved units.

Speaking in Mombasa, the Chairperson of the Commission, Bishop Dr. David Oginde, said that corruption is very prevalent within counties, thus requesting cooperation from the governors to help in looking at the loopholes, through which resources are getting lost at the devolved level.

Oginde said that corruption reports investigated by EACC over the last ten years point to massive losses and mismanagement of public resources in the counties.

He said accountability for public resources remains a serious challenge in county governments, adding that for those governors who did very well, their results were seen and the impact of what happens when things are done right.

Oginde noted that the commission is looking at some of the corruption cases of some governors and has forwarded some cases for prosecution, with some still under investigation.

“There are very high incidents of violations of ethics in our country. The most prevalent malpractices in the counties include embezzlement of public funds, conflict of interest, procurement fraud, payroll fraud mainly through ghost workers, fraudulent pending bills, and blatant disregard of laws relating to prudent management of public affairs,” he said.

The Chairman said that in the last 10 years, the Commission has received and processed 10,543 reports of corruption and unethical conduct relating to county governments.

He added that upon analysis, 7,310 reports were found to be within the mandate of the Commission and taken up for investigation, while those outside their mandate were referred to other agencies with authority to take action.

Oginde mentioned that non-remittance of statutory deductions is emerging as a form of corruption in almost all counties, and he said the Commission is in receipt of information that, to date, the county governments have cumulatively not remitted over Sh. 80 billion in pension deductions made from employees’ salaries.

“It is reported that upon receipt of money for salaries from the National Government, some counties pay the net salaries but do not remit the statutory deductions to the relevant agencies such as NHIF, NSSF, and banks in settlement of employees’ loans,” said Oginde.

In a report presented to Kenya News Agency (KNA), nine governors have graft cases pending in court which include former and serving ones.

These cases, Oginde said, are at various stages of hearing by the courts, with many more governors being under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds and possession of unexplained wealth not commensurate with their legitimate earnings during the period of investigation.

He said EACC has also investigated many other senior county officials from both the County Assembly and County Executive, with some having been charged with corruption.

Bishop Oginde said though county assemblies also have a mandate to exercise oversight over the county executive, they have received cases of some MCAs who have blackmailed governors as a way of securing contracts for personal benefits.

The Chairman asked the governors, upon identifying malpractices in counties, to put in place strong internal controls, prevent further corrupt conduct, and refer corruption matters that require investigations to EACC.

To mitigate this challenge, governors should take up their responsibility as the Chief Executive Officers of county governments to seal current loopholes which are making some counties perform poorly,” he said.

He urged the county bosses to automate revenue collection systems and integrate effective accountability measures, including ensuring the officials managing the automated systems are men and women of integrity.

-Kenya News Agency(KNA)

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