Kenya: Reward Whistle Blowers With 5% of Graft Proceeds - BBI

President Uhuru Kenyatta hugs Opposition leader Raila Odinga as his Deputy President William Ruto (right) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka cheer them (file photo).
26 November 2019

Nairobi — In an innovative approach to fighting corruption, the single threat to Kenya's unity and resources, the Building Bridges Initiative report is proposing that whistleblowers be rewarded with 5 percent of recovered proceeds.

The report, which was handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday afternoon, recommends 6 measures, that the 14-member task force believes that they will help in slaying the graft dragon, that has seen billions of taxpayer's resources embezzled.

The recommendation includes a requirement to make all wealth declaration forms open to public scrutiny and enable court procedures that guarantee the protection of the safety and security of informants, whistleblowers and witnesses, particularly regarding terrorism, serious transnational crimes and corruption.

President Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to read and understand the report for them to make informed choices.

It also proposes a requirement to make the country a hundred percent e-service nation by digitalizing all government services, processes, payment systems, and record-keeping, protecting the independence of media and judiciary.

On protecting the judiciary's independence, the report recommends "efforts to ensure "Increased public confidence in the Judiciary, by recognizing that the core constitutional principles in Kenya are the separation of powers, between arms of Government, and accountability to the people of Kenya. The independence of the Judiciary must be protected as a fundamental principle, and it should also be accountable to the people of Kenya."

It also recommends that all public officers be banned from doing business with the government.

If adopted by Kenyans, the proposal will come at a time key Government agencies are struggling with fighting graft, amidst an agitated public, that wants action taken against those found culpable and looted monies recovered.

"The growing public perception of Kenya having a rigged system that rewards cronyism and corruption is the greatest risk to Kenya's cohesion and security. Tackling corruption is the single most important mission Kenya has now. The Taskforce makes major and actionable recommendations, a few that are captured below," read a brief extract of the report, seen by Capital News.

Kenya is the 144 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.

The report covers on 7 thematic areas, that other than corruption, focuses on empowering devolution, need for a lean government that invest on the people as the central mandate, inclusive and accountable politics that will see the creation of a ceremonial Prime Minister's position, equitable distribution of resources and ways of empowering national ethics.

BBI's key recommendations

On the creation of a Prime Minister's seat, the BBI report reads that; "Within a set number of days following the summoning of Parliament after an election, the President shall appoint a Prime Minister, an elected Member of the National Assembly from a political party having a majority of Members in the National Assembly or, if no political party has a majority, one who appears to have the support of a majority of MPs."

The nominee for Prime Minister, the report reads, "shall not assume office until his or her appointment is first confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by an absolute majority vote of MPs."

"If the Prime Minister nominee is not confirmed, the President shall have another set number of days to make another appointment. This process shall continue until there is a successful nomination for Prime Minister. A measure to ensure that this process is not indefinite, and that governance is continuous should be considered."

The Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President or through a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly according to the set of recommendations.

To ensure the Cabinet represents the face of Kenya, the President will only appoint Cabinet Ministers after consultation with the Prime Minister.

"The Ministers shall be responsible for the offices that the President establishes in line with the Constitution," reads the recommendations.

But what are the roles of a Prime Minister?

According to the BBI report, "The Prime Minister shall have supervision and execution of the day-to-day functions and affairs of the Government. The Prime Minister shall be the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly. On the President's tasking, the Prime Minister will chair Cabinet sub-committees. In the exercise of his authority, the Prime Minister shall perform or cause to be performed any matter or matters which the President directs to be done."

The Taskforce further recommends that the Cabinet Secretary be renamed Cabinet Minister. There also want a set of legislators to assume the position of a Minister of State-shadow cabinet-in a move, the Yusuf Haji led taskforce say will ensure accountability.

The ministers of state shall not have additional salary or benefits, according to the proposals, but they shall work closely with the Cabinet Ministers in their respective dockets.

On reducing the wage bill, the report, among other things recommends that all sitting allowances for Public Officers on salary are eliminated.

The report did not propose any change in the terms limit for the President and his Deputy, which remain two-five years each.

The report is an outcome of March 2018 handshake between President Kenyatta and his then political archrival Raila Odinga, following a disputed election. Odinga had sworn in himself as the people's President.

During the protests, that often turned bloody, tens of people lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries.

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