The government has committed to rooting out corruption in the public service as part of its efforts to enhance service delivery to her citizens.
Head of Public Service, Felix Koskei, says the government has resolved to change tack in tackling the menace which he says has derailed development in the country.
To combat corruption effectively, the government has implemented a series of strategies, including strengthening investigating agencies and leveraging the support of National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) stationed across the country.
“We will allow the investigative agencies to proceed with their mandate, EACC, DCI will continue with their mandate of investigating and getting to know what really happened in the circumstance that there is an issue of corruption,”Koskei said.
The Head of Public Service made the remarks Friday while presiding over a security meeting with senior government administrators at the Kenya School of Government (KSG), Lower Kabete.
The meeting, which was also attended by Dr. Raymond Omollo, Principal Secretary of Internal Security and National Administration, focused on reviewing the performance of government institutions during the 2022/2023 Financial Year.
During the discussions, the participants explored strategies to effectively combat corruption, which has infiltrated various government departments.
Koskei stressed the importance of a collaborative, all-of-government approach in tackling the vice, aligning with President William Ruto’s commitment to a corruption-free country.
Moving into the next financial year, the Head of Public Service said that the government will focus on enforcement of zero-tolerance policy on corruption and the enhancement of service delivery to mwananchi at the grassroots.
“That is why we have been having a series of meetings targeting areas that are prone to corruption, areas like public works, health, procurement and finance to have this conversation and come up with ways of ensuring never again will a government be defeated in fighting corruption,” the Head of Public Service said.
In his address, Koskei emphasized the importance of collaboration among the Executive, Judiciary, and Parliament to win the war against corruption.
He urged the administrators to play a leading role in communicating the government’s stance on corruption at the grassroots.
Additionally, Koskei drew attention to the issue of land acquisition, registrations, and transactions, identifying it as a significant area where corruption is prevalent.
He called on NGAOs to take charge and flag out individuals who exploit existing loopholes to fleece the citizens of their hard-earned monies.
“We are telling them (NGAOS) to take charge, ensure that you weed out those people who are tarnishing the government’s reputation by extorting, making documents disappear and by demanding money for government services to which mwananchi is entitled, free of charge,” Koskei said.
On his part, Omollo commended NGAOs across the country for their efforts in ensuring the safety of Kenyans.
He noted that their responses have positioned the Interior Ministry as one of the key enablers of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development in the country.
“As the Chairs of the respective Security and Intelligence Committees in their jurisdictions, these officers have progressively cascaded the all-of-government approach to security and law enforcement,” he said.
The PS also noted that through the help of NGAOs, the Government has managed to recover over 100 firearms from civilians and silenced the bandits in the North Rift who have wreaked havoc in the region for decades.
Further, he divulged that the state department has lined up various interventions to improve the capacity of NGAO officers.
Key among them is infrastructure upgrade, training and provision of mobility and logistical support through the Government Vehicle Leasing Program.
He said: “As you are aware, NGAOs currently have only 432 vehicles. There is a deficit of 1,072 vehicles for field officers, 80 vehicles for Ministry Headquarter Departments and Agencies, and 4,000 motorcycles for Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs whose acquisition will go a long way to enhancing their operations.”
The Interior PS also revealed plans to operationalize the 28 newly gazetted sub-counties in response to the increasing demand for further decentralization of government services.
Commenting on the status of passport printing and issuance, Immigration and Citizen Service Principal Secretary Mr. Julius Bitok revealed that the government has so far printed a total of 87,000 passports that are yet to be collected by their applicants.
He assured the public that the issue of corruption within the Immigration Department is a thing of the past and encouraged Kenyans to visit the facility for passport collection, emphasizing quick turnaround times.
“I want to tell the country that we have been able to turn around Immigrations and that right now immigration is a corruption-free zone and that we are doing everything possible to ensure that Kenyans are able to get their passports within seven days.
“We have cleaned the place and we are happy to inform the country that feel free to come for your passport and don’t pay anything to get your passport,” the PS said.
Bitok also revealed that the planed roll-out of the national digital system is well on -course.
He noted that digital identity will play a vital role in eliminating corruption, improving service delivery, and boosting revenue for the government.
The meeting involved 8 Regional Commissioners; 47 County Commissioners and 372 Deputy County Commissioners.
Also present were senior officials and Heads of Departments and SAGAs within the Ministry of Interior and National Administration.