The law, including the criminal code, the Anticorruption and Economic Crimes Act (revised 2011), and the Leadership and Integrity Act (2012), provides criminal penalties for official corruption. Despite some progress in fighting corruption during the year, the government did not implement these laws effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year, including land seizures, conflicts of interest in government procurement, favoritism and nepotism, and bribery.
Officials from agencies tasked with fighting corruption, including the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (EACC), the ODPP, and the judiciary, were sometimes the subjects of corruption allegations.
The public continued to perceive corruption as a severe problem at all levels of government. According to an EACC national survey released in March, 75 percent of respondents characterized corruption levels as “very high” in the country, and a slight majority said that corruption had increased during the previous year. A slight majority, however, also said the government was committed to the fight against corruption. Bribery was the most commonly reported type of corruption, with 38 percent of respondents reporting they had paid a bribe in the last year.
The World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators for 2015, the most recent data available, indicated that corruption was a severe problem. According to a University of Nairobi/Afrobarometer report issued in April 2015, a majority of citizens said that corruption had increased during the previous year and that the government had performed poorly in fighting it. According to the report, police, government officials, members of Parliament, and business executives were most widely perceived as corrupt. A majority of participants who said they paid bribes did not report the incidents. The main reasons for nonreporting were fear of retaliation and perceived inaction by authorities. Official corruption was pervasive at all levels of government, often in the form of land seizures, conflict of interest in government procurement, and demands for bribes
In 2013 the government initiated a new system of devolved governance through which the national government began sharing responsibilities and revenues with 47 newly established county governments, led by directly elected governors. In August the EACC released a report, based on a survey of nearly 5,000 county employees, suggesting that corruption was a severe problem at the county government level. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they considered county governments either “highly” or “moderately” corrupt. Respondents identified bribery, favoritism, procurement irregularities, and embezzlement as the most common forms of corruption in the counties. Many county executive committees struggled with budgeting fundamentals and financial accountability.
The EACC, an independent agency created in 2011, has the legal mandate to investigate official corruption allegations, develop and enforce a code of ethics for public officials, and engage in public outreach on corruption. The EACC, however, lacks prosecutorial authority and must refer cases to the ODPP to initiate prosecutions. The EACC and the ODPP lacked the technical and financial capacity to execute their mandates fully. EACC chairman Philip Kinisu, appointed in January, resigned on August 31 after being accused of failing to disclose a conflict of interest during his vetting process.
The government increased the EACC’s budget during the year, from 2.6 billion shillings ($26 million) in 2015 to 2.8 billion shillings ($28 million). According to the government’s Economic Survey for 2016, the EACC increased the number of cases it handled from 4,006 in 2014 to 5,551 in 2015. The pace at which the EACC investigated such cases, however, appeared to slow during the year. As of October there were more than 360 corruption cases pending in court.
Investigations into corruption allegations against 124 government officials named in a 2014 EACC report, including five former cabinet secretaries and three principal secretaries, proceeded slowly. As of September the EACC had submitted 59 of those cases to the ODPP, which approved cases for prosecution. These included cases against two cabinet secretaries (Transport Secretary Michael Kamau and Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu), two governors (Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria and Garissa governor Nadhif Jama), four members of parliament, several directors of state corporations, and a number of county officials. Those cases continued at year’s end, often delayed by procedural motions. Courts convicted three low-level government officials of corruption-related crimes during the year but did not successfully conclude any prosecutions of current or former high-level officials for corruption.
In February, Supreme Court justice Philip Tunoi was accused of accepting a 200 million Kenyan shillings ($2 million) bribe from Nairobi City County governor Evans Kidero to rule in Kidero’s favor in an election dispute case. The president suspended Tunoi, who denied guilt, pending an investigation by an appointed tribunal, while Kidero remained in office. The tribunal ended its proceedings in June on the ground that it lacked a legal mandate to investigate the judge after he retired at age 70 as required by law.
In November an audit report was leaked which alleged five billion shillings ($50 million) from the Ministry of Health were possibly misappropriated. Contractors implicated in the scandal allegedly included firms owned by some of President Kenyatta’s relatives. As of year’s end, an investigation by the EACC was pending.
The government made modest progress implementing elements of President Kenyatta’s November 2015 anticorruption strategy. In March the government made public the results of a peer review of anticorruption initiatives under the UN Convention Against Corruption. The government made progress during the year toward operationalizing specialized anticorruption courts and an interagency anticorruption task force led by the attorney general. The government made only limited progress on other commitments, including the adoption of international anticorruption standards and the digitization of government records and processes.
Corruption: While police and government corruption was widely viewed as endemic, authorities rarely arrested and prosecuted public officers (see section 1.d.). The Judiciary and National Police Service continued measures to reform the handling of traffic cases by police and courts, streamlining the management of traffic offenses to curb corruption.
Financial Disclosure: The law requires all public officers to declare their income, assets, and liabilities to their “responsible commission” (for example, the Parliamentary Service Commission in the case of members of parliament) every two years. Public officers must also include income, assets, and liabilities of their spouses and dependent children under the age of 18. Information contained in these declarations was not readily available to the public, and the relevant commission must approve requests to obtain and publish this information. Any person who publishes or otherwise makes public information contained in public officer declarations without such permission may be subject to imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to 500,000 shillings ($5,000), or both. Authorities also required police officers undergoing vetting to file financial disclosure reports for themselves and their immediate family members. These reports were publicly available (see section 1.d.).
The 2012 Leadership and Integrity Act requires public officers to register potential conflicts of interest with the relevant commissions. The law identifies interests that public officials must register, including directorships in public or private companies, remunerated employment, securities holdings, and contracts for supply of goods or services, among others. The law requires candidates seeking appointment to nonelective public offices to declare their wealth, political affiliations, and relationships with other senior public officers. This requirement is in addition to background screening on education, tax compliance, leadership, and integrity. Many officials met these requirements and reported potential conflicts of interest. Although the government generally did not seek criminal or administrative sanctions for noncompliance, EACC chairman Philip Kinisu resigned his position after being accused of failing to disclose a conflict of interest properly. Authorities did not strictly enforce ethics rules relating to the receipt of gifts and hospitality by public officials.
There were no reported challenges to any declarations of wealth--which normally are not made public--filed by public officials.
Public Access to Information: The constitution provides citizens with a right to access information held by the state and requires the government to publish and publicize important information affecting the country.
On August 31, the president signed into law the Access to Information Act. The law allows citizens to request government information and requires government entities and private entities doing business with the government proactively to disclose certain information, such as government contracts. The act also provides a mechanism to request a review of the government’s failure to disclose requested information, along with penalties for failures to disclose. The act exempts certain information from disclosure on grounds of national security.
In 2011 the government joined the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. It also launched a website, the Kenya Open Data Portal, to provide a comprehensive and transparent site for citizens to access data from government ministries. The government continued to add datasets to the website throughout the year. In July the government submitted its Second National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership, committing to enhance public access to information on budgeting and public procurement processes.
The government televised its spokesperson’s briefings and broadcast parliamentary debates live on television and radio.