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TI: County Assembly processes are not transparent

15 May 2014, 14:38 John Kioko

Nairobi - An Integrity survey conducted in Kwale and Kisumu counties by Transparency International indicates that county assembly processes are not transparent as citizens are unable to access basic information.

The survey which was conducted between September and December 2013, was aimed at developing follow-up action plan for strengthening integrity at county level in collaboration with key stakeholders.

“The executive has clear roles set out and adequate resources to carry out their duties but they are using guidelines created for and in use by the national government because it has not established localized framework to manage the county public service,” read the report.

Those present during the launch of the report at Hill Park Hotel in Kwale on Wednesday included the Matuga sub-county commissioner Kamunyan Chedotum, Transparency International Head of Finance Justine Mutie, Kwale county deputy speaker Andrew Mulei and Majority Leader Nassoro Mgutta among others.

The report also revealed that County public service still enforces permits and licences that had been issued by the defunct local authorities.

Civil society organizations which have a strong capacity to raise public awareness have not yet realized that potential according to the survey.

“Internal audit mechanism were limited, but the institutions at the National government have the mandate to oversee county operations but the national government oversight efforts are still not effective as they should be,” read the report.

Transparency International recommended that the assemblies should set aside days for consultative forums for citizens and set up a communication centers and websites for citizens to access relevant information about the county government when needed.

“The assembly, executive and national ant-corruption bodies should collaborate to establish ad publicize an independent pubic complaint mechanism that can resolve complaints against the county assembly and the executive,” added the report.

County assemblies were also urged to make laws that do not contravene the national legislation and the constitution to assist with the effective implementation of their functions.

Transparency International indicated that the most crucial thing at this time is county laws on procurement, access to information and public participation.

“The county government should establish clear strictures of engagement with the civil society within its institutional framework,” added the report.

Justine Mutie, the TI Head of Finance said that devolution has made complex the dynamics of ensuring public sector integrity, compared to the previous system of governance.

He said that a functioning county integrity system can play an important role in minimizing the opportunity for corruption at counties.

“Devolution is work and citizen should look forward to plucking its fruits in the coming years. Laying strong foundations at the county and national levels is the key in ensuring satisfactory service to Kenyans, transparency, accountability and good relations between county structures and national government,” said Mutie.

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