State and Public officers convicted of corruption or economic crimes will soon be permanently barred from running for political office as per a proposed Bill before Parliament. If the Bill passes, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will also be empowered to publish their names.
The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes (Amendment) Bill, which is currently before the National Assembly, seeks to bar any public officer convicted of corruption from vying for political seats or holding any public office permanently.
The Bill, which is seeking to amend the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) 2003 is seeking to address rampant corruption in public service that has seen corruption reach impunity level as culprits continue with their normal lives undeterred.
The Bill proposed by Moiben Member of Parliament (MP) Silas Tiren will cover Managing Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Directors, Managers, and any other officer convicted of corruption. It proposes that these individuals be held personally liable for running down their institutions they were involved in managing.
“A person who is convicted of an offence of corruption or economic crime and who was involved in the management of a public company, institution or state organ that suffered pecuniary loss as a result of the corruption or economic crime, shall be personally liable for such loss,” reads the Bill.
The EACC will also be empower to publish in the Kenya Gazette the names of those thus disqualified under the new law. The publication will be at least once a year. Those who aid in the running down of public institutions will affected, even when they were not in management.
Currently, the law provides that a person convicted of corruption or an economic crime shall be disqualified from being elected or appointed as a public officer for 10 years after the conviction. The law had also given exceptions for those running for elective State Offices where the Constitution sets out the qualifications for the office.
This protected those running for Presidential, MPs, Governorship and Member of County Assembly (MCAs) seats as the qualifications are set in the Constitution. If the proposed Bill becomes law, this will change leading to a significant win in the fight against corruption. The Bill is currently under discussion before the National Parliament.
The new law will also see public officers who occasion or oversee the loss of public funds held personally responsible and will no longer pass on the to their responsibility to their successors as is the current practice under the doctrine of collective responsibility.
The new law will be a major boost for the anti-graft Multi-Agency teams, among the EACC, and the Directors of Criminal Investigation and of Public Prosecution, who have had to grapple with sometimes making reports before persons who they have accusations against, yet who have however risen to oversight positions through elective positions.