MPs are seeking to amend the Lifestyle Audit Bill, 2021, to enable Kenyans to have access to the wealth information of all civil servants.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and the net worth of cabinet members; which is an accounting of income, assets and liabilities will be published, if the lawmakers adopt the bill.
The MPs want to scrap section 30 of the Public Officer Ethics Act of 2003 that protects civil servants’ wealth from public scrutiny.
Accordingly, all self-declared wealth declaration forms will be available online at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) website. Thus, the contents of a declaration or clarification on income, assets and liabilities under the Act shall be accessible to the public.
The Auditor-General has for years flagged off wealth declarations of many civil servants who were roped into fraud and embezzlement. However, the Asset and Recovery Authority (ARA) and the EACC, have always experienced challenges in ascertaining the true value of the suspects’ wealth. This is because corrupt individuals often register their wealth, including cars and houses, in the names of their spouses and children or proxies to avoid being detected by anti-graft agencies.
Current laws dictate that civil servants ought to declare their wealth after every two years. Nonetheless, the contents of their documents have always been hidden away from the public eye.
If the proposed legal amendments are adopted, failure to declare one’s wealth or providing false information, will lead to a two-year jail term or a fine of Kshs. 5 million.
This will therefore leave no room for these corruption syndicates to thrive and loot the government. The bill will thus greatly assist in the war against corruption.