Third of civil servants struggling to justify wealth in corruption probe

By on 22/08/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Civil servants have been asked to account for their possessions in a crackdown on corruption.

Around 30% of Kenyan civil servants have been unable to explain the source of their wealth in an audit ordered by the government.

The figure was revealed by head of public service Joseph Kinyua during the swearing-in of the Public Service Commission chairman Stephen Kirogo at the Kenyan Supreme Court last week.

The audit was ordered by president Uhuru Kenyatta in June and is targeting around 1,000 senior procurement and accounting officials, according to national news website the Star.

Kenya has suffered from a number of high-profile corruption scandals, with the auditor general warning last month that the trend threatened the basic function of the state.

Kinyua said: “We are finding that many of the civil servants are good people who can account for everything they own and how they came to own it.”

However, he added that public resources should be used prudently. “We are not in these positions to enrich ourselves but to serve citizens. We should serve with integrity at all time just like the president says,” he added.

“The greatest call to serve”

Kirogo replaces Marget Kobia who has been appointed as cabinet secretary for public service, youth and gender affairs.

He pledged to enhance the culture of honesty in the public service by recognising and rewarding hardworking civil servants to increase productivity. “The public service entails the greatest call to serve not for those who want to get rich or wealthy,” he said.

Chief justice David Maraga, who was present at the swearing-in ceremony, urged Kirogo to deal in particular with officials in the lands ministry, who have been found issuing different land buyers with more than two title deeds for the same piece of land.

Cases have had to go to court in order to determine who the real landowner is, he said. “You should reign in public officers behind these schemes to help our people,” Maraga said.

He also asked Kirogo to deal with complaints from civil servants, especially over breached terms of employment, the Star said.

“Fair administrative action for public servants should be looked into. If we minimise this, then public servants will work well,” Maraga said.

About Catherine Early

Catherine is a journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has held permanent roles at the Environmentalist (now known as Transform), the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue. She was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition 2009, and was part of the team that won PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2011 for Windpower Monthly. She also won an outstanding content award at Haymarket Media Group’s employee awards for data-led stories in Planning magazine. She holds a 2:1 honours degree in English language and literature from Birmingham University.

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