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Reduced corruption can cut the deal too

11 March 2014, 15:09 Mubweka Orodi

Salaries for top government officials are on the verge of being revised downwards in a bid to restore sanity in the country’s expenditure habits. This is after the president and his cabinet approved of their salaries being reduced by considerable margins in order to set pace for the rest of the government arms.

A good amount of money is bound to be saved if the entire government follows suit.

However, with the numerous calls for selective reduction especially from the governor's circle, the blanket implementation of the proposal by the president and his team might not be successful after all. All in all, it is a commendable step towards good management of public resources and thus it should not be left to senior officers only but should cut across the board.

Nonetheless, there are more important steps to be taken to ensure that public resources are well managed on behalf of the citizens.

Corruption is the word.

Rampant corruption has engulfed the current administration to the extent that it has become impossible to minimize budget deficits.

Recently, in the SME Today magazine (February issue), the auditor general reiterated the call for an end to corruption within government quarters. He clearly stated that over ES 300 billion could not be accounted for within the 2011/2012 Financial Year.

Furthermore, the auditor general was quoted as saying that he could only give an account of up to 6% of financial transactions within government. This is a catastrophe of its kind and if we fail to deal with it, all the efforts to down salaries and redirect funds to development projects will be in vain.

There is urgent need to work on ethical conduct within government corridors in order to stem the increasingly popular ‘swag’ among senior state officers.

Parliament should also sit down - of course after accepting the proposal of cutting down salaries - and come up with a raft of bills to increase the penalty for corrupt fellows.

As legislators, the lawmakers should tighten the grip on those found guilty in order to scare away the bold hyenas charged with taking care of public assets and liabilities. Failure to do so creates a gap that is often used by powerful and influential persons to safeguard their loots.

Finally, the president should embrace the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and work hand in hand to curtail the growing cancer within state offices. He should make it a point to increase funding to the EACC to ensure that all its investigations are well conducted by adequate and competent staff using most modern resources. Being present is one thing, making an impact is another; EACC should strive to make its presence felt especially amidst the growing improper acts that have flooded the government service stations.

Not forgetting, the president should compel the Kenya National Audit Office to work closely with the EACC so as to conduct credible investigations. The KNAO should as well be funded so as to enable it acquire the most modern resources that can facilitate it carry out its mandate efficiently and effectively. The auditor general is very key in stemming corruption because he is the one who can competently analyze budgets and other financial statements and make valid and professional opinions as to the manner in which public resources are being utilized.

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