The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference
Kenya's National Anti-Corruption Strategy
The prioritisation of the problem areas that need to be tackled with respect to corruption has been divided into five critical areas namely: Rule of Law; Financial Management, Public Pro-curement Systems; Public Sector Reforms and Customs and Revenue. Here below is a short summary of each area of actions taken or to be taken including possible time frames (i.e. short term up to 18 months; medium term up to 4½ years; and long term, 5 years and beyond) and implementation responsibilities. The financial requirements for effective implementation have not been indicated as they require a very detailed study which was not within the team's capacity financially and time- wise to conduct.
1. RULE OF LAW
The problem of law and order in Kenya relate to an inadequate legal framework and a weak law enforcement system. To address these problems, Government has made a number of institutional interventions. It has established an independent anti- corruption authority, it has facilitated and supported the establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on corruption; there has been established a Legal Sector Co-ordinating Committee to research and address the multifarious sub-sectoral problems; and there is a specific Judicial Committee implementing identified reforms. More specifically, the issue of inadequate legal framework has to be addressed by reviewing and amending laws with a bearing on the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption. It is expected that this exercise can be accomplished in the short term. The implementation responsibility obviously lies with the Government. The country team and civil society will play the role of necessary advocacy for the desired changes. The issue of weak law enforcement agencies has to be tackled by enhanced capacity building, improving remuneration, computerisation, supplies of adequate appropriate equipment, improving record management systems, improving physical facilities, developing code of conduct for leaders and public officials and encouragement of high standards and meritocracy in public services. These are measures to be taken in the medium term and long term. Again implementation of these measures is within the domain of Government. Team and civil society can only play an advocacy role and collaborate with Government and other stakeholders to work on a national strategy. The overall effect of addressing the twin problems identified would be a substantial reduction in corruption. The quick wins in this problem area are possibly to be found in the area of formulating an adequate legal framework, developing suitable codes of conduct, preventive education and measures and investigation and prosecution of offenders.
2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
In Kenya, the problems relating to financial management in-clude: inadequate planning and prioritisation of resource use leading to delayed/abandoned projects; inadequate technical manpower and facilities to enable proper accounting and hence hinder corruption; inadequate, unreliable and untimely delivery of budget resources; weak accounting and audit management information systems; disparate audit institutional framework and audit delays; and poor follow-up and implementation of audit reports.
To address the above problems, several measures have been taken by the Government. They include a reinvigorated strategy of decentralization in planning and monitoring public expenditure through a policy called district focus for rural development, introduction of medium term expenditure frameworks (MTEF), moratorium on new projects, prioritisation of ongoing projects, a move from incremental to rationalised budgets, strengthening of financial and accounting systems and their decentralisation, ap-pointment of qualified financial officers for Government ministries, introduction of better cash management practices and increasing the capacity of the Controller and Auditor- General. Actions to be taken by Government to further strengthen financial management include putting in place MTEF to strengthen prioritisation of resource distribution and the management of public expenditure procedures, harmonisation of audit activities of the Government, staff training and empowering the Parliamentary Finance Committee to play a useful role in rationalising ministerial budgets.
The role that civil society and the team can play in this area is one of advocacy, dissemination of information and monitoring. The quick wins can be recorded only in the identification of delayed/abandoned projects, in proper manpower planning and development, and in updating the relevant schemes of service. The other set of actions can only be carried through in the medium and long term. The net effect of all the above measures will be substantial reduction in corruption.
3. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT SYSTEMS
This is an area with many loopholes and is thus a fertile ground for corruption. The problems are a weak institutional framework, a disregard for the system in place; and weak capacity on the part of procurement personnel to understand the system. Knowing that many complaints of corruption emanate from the procurement field, the procurement system has been strengthened lately by reconstituting the Central Tender Board under the chair of a private sector personality, clarifying the functions of ministerial tender boards and upgrading the level of chair and membership; directing that all transactions be through competitive bidding and incorporating members of Parliament and Councillors in District Tender Boards.
To strengthen this area further, it is intended to review all necessary laws and procedures; recast the supplies manual for public bodies to streamline the procurement system, undertake training and capacity building; review service regulations to eliminate areas of potential conflicts of interest; and to identify and blacklist deviant suppliers.
Needless to state, the big actor will be Government. Civil society and the team can only undertake advocacy for better systems, monitor procurement practices, raise pertinent issues and encourage the private sector to develop and abide by necessary codes of conduct. Many of the contemplated measures are amenable to quick Wins and can be implemented in the short term. Indeed only the complete production of new supplies manuals are medium term measures. The implementation of the summarised measures will result in a substantial reduction of corruption.
4. PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS
The failures of public management and Governance in many countries are typified with declining quality of services, inadequate policy formulation, weak financial management, closed decision making thus leading to misallocation and misappropriation of financial resources among many other ills. The manifestations of public sector failure can be seen by the non- focused core functions of Government creating opportunities for surplus employment; size of the civil service being too large thus leading to inadequate Operational Management (O&M) budgets, hence poor/failed service delivery in every respect; low pay killing motivation of public servants; no specific work ethic and weak training and capacity-building environment; and public sector reform not properly integrated within the economy.
The Kenya Government has endeavoured to address the above problems by, inter alia putting in place a clear institutional framework for public sector reforms including establishment of sectoral reform committees, defining core functions of Government and issuing guidelines on ministerial rationalisation and staff right sizing. Ministries have been reduced from 28 to 15, guidelines have been issued on the proper ratio in the recurrent budget between personnel emoluments and operations and maintenance (O&M) with the intention of moving to 60/40 in the medium term and 50/50 in the long term, a new objective performance appraisal criteria has been developed and the code of regulations is being reviewed to address discipline and other ethical matters. There are a lot of other actions that can and should be implemented as detailed in the matrix. Civil society will play the role of advocacy for implementation of stated polices on rationalisation, right sizing conflict of interest and transparency. The team too will join in the Advocacy and keep monitoring the implementation of various measures. The quick wins might turn out to be in the implementation of the various circulars pertinent to rationalisation and right sizing. This can be done in the short term. In the medium term action is expected in the area of development of code of conduct, implementation of MFEF and the development of a framework for training. In the long term, it is expected that all these reform measures will be implemented and the result will be a leaner more efficient public sector where corruption will be minimal.
5. CUSTOMS AND REVENUE
Customs and other revenue collections units of Government, have been areas that have experienced endemic corruption. Some of these problems include under declaration/collection; wrong classification; dumping of goods; bribery of staff; falsification of documents; false exemptions; falsification of export; falsification of import VAT.
The Government has created integrated revenue service by creating the Kenya Revenue Authority. The Government has also registered a number of internationally recognised firms, to undertake pre-shipment inspection; there is surveillance by a Kenya Revenue Authority Transit monitoring Unit (TMU) and in case of default heavy penalties are incurred: the government has also launched the Revenue Protection Service to encourage and educate tax payers on the consequences of tax evasion; and transit fuel has been placed with a special marker such that net-working with Tanzania Revenue Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority can eliminate the problems of dumping.
For successful implementation of the reforms in customs and revenue, the Government is committed to the operational auto-nomy of Kenya Revenue Authority; it intends to finance the automation of Kenya Revenue Authority systems and enhance its capacity to collect revenue and strengthen the judiciary, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority and police force so as to pro-secute corruption cases expeditiously. On the other hand, the civil society will advocate for the education of members of the public on revenue laws and procedures. The team will undertake advocacy of necessary measures and monitor performance of the stated Government Programmes.
6. LINK OF ACTION PLANS WITH EXISTING PROGRAMMES
It is evident that most actions will be taken by the Government. Indeed all actions done and proposed to be done by the Govern-ment are already identified as part and parcel of its overall framework to increase efficiency and fight corruption in the public sector. As regards civil society, the advocacy and monitoring role it assumes in the action plan is its daily cup of tea already. The team is a new actor. It has undertaken to do what it thinks it can, given its composition and specific circumstances of Kenya.
7. COUNTRY TEAM'S EFFORTS
From the time the Kenyan team met in Washington to date, we have worked closely in the development of the action matrix, in the brainstorming on possible elements and milestones in the development of a national strategy to combat corruption, and in interesting various stakeholders in the anti-corruption struggle. One of the latest successes by the team was planning for a stakeholders workshop that took place in Nairobi on 17 September 1999. This workshop brought together the Government, the private sector, civil society, the media and Parliament, to dialogue on the strategic plan of the Kenya Anti-corruption Authority and on elements of a successful national strategy to combat corruption. The team hopes it will stick together and collaborate further with other stakeholders in playing a positive role in the fight against corruption.