1 February 2019

Kenya: Ombudsman Wants State Firms to Disclose Top Executives' Pay

The ombudswoman wants all State agencies to emulate Kenya Ports Authority in disclosing the salary scales of their top executives.

KPA is the only entity that has included such information on its website.

Ms Florence Kajuju also wants all State firms to post on their websites information on how they spend the monies allocated to them.

She has, however, declared county governments the poorest performing public entities when it comes to providing information to the public.

Speaking on Thursday during the launch of a survey by the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) that she chairs, Ms Kajuju said the benefits envisioned in the Access to Information Act that was enacted in 2016, which was an actualisation of Article 35 of the Constitution, are yet to be fully realised.

IMPLEMENTATION

"Presently, we are at an advanced stage in the development of regulations to enhance the implementation of the Act," she said.

The CAJ survey measured what the Act calls "proactive disclosure", which is providing information readily through the internet and other mass media without formal application or prompting by the public.

Under investigation were the 47 county governments, the 24 government ministries and 30 State corporations. The analysis was done between January 15 and 23, 2019. The entities' websites were the main source of information and CAJ's yardstick was the Access to Information Act.

"The legal requirement under the Act (requires) public entities to voluntarily and continually avail certain types of information. It became effective from September 21, 2017," states the report.

"The survey has revealed low levels of compliance with the requirements of proactive disclosure of information by public entities. In addition, it has revealed the existing gaps in the implementation of the Act," it added.

PROCUREMENT INFORMATION

CAJ's survey analysed information shared under five topics: "who we are and what we do", "how we make decisions", "how we spend resources", "our policies and procedures", and "public procurement information".

Of the 30 State corporations sampled, only three per cent were found to have fully disclosed information on "who we are." Forty-seven per cent were also found to have provided sufficient details on how they make decisions.

And when it comes to "how we use resources", only three per cent of them had offered information that CAJ deemed complete.

"It is worth noting that it is only the Kenya Ports Authority that had disclosed information on the salary scales of its senior management," the CAJ reports.

And on county governments, 72 per cent were found to have satisfactorily provided information on the "who we are and what we do" score, but only two per cent were found to have fully provided information on how they make decisions.

TENDERS AWARDED

There was also an interesting finding in terms of information about county contracts.

"Only a paltry nine per cent of county governments had fully disclosed information on their contracts, 55 per cent partially disclosed while 36 per cent had not disclosed. Whereas most of the websites had information on tender advertisements, they did not avail further details of the tenders awarded, contractors, contract sums and timeframes for execution," the report states.

"Makueni and Nandi county governments, however, had provided detailed and readily accessible procurement information," it adds.

CAJ opines that there is a 48 per cent level of non-compliance with the requirements of proactive disclosure.

WORST PERFORMERS

"County governments are the worst performers in disclosing information to the public," says the CAJ document.

The commission recommends immediate publication of financial statements and other documentation "including information on salaries".

"It should be immediately uploaded on websites of public institutions and publicised in any other relevant media. If fully embraced, this has the potential of ensuring increased accountability where citizens can hold public officers to account on un-explained or un-accountable wealth," says the report.

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