Petition seeks to prohibit civil servants from doing business

Public officers who have formed companies purposely to do business with the national and county governments could soon end up behind bars.

Contributing to a petition seeking to address conflict of interest in public service, senators admitted that civil servants doing business with the government are to blame for the runaway corruption.

Petitioner Tony Watima wants a law enacted barring public officers from having any commercial dealings with the government.

He said that would allow public officers to freely make decisions based on public interest free of influence from private or personal interest. 

“There is a pattern of unchallenged abuse of power by both appointed and elected public officers where they are investors or have personal interests,” Mr Watima said.

Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula said allowing public officers to do business with the government has taken the country on a dangerous path in the management of public affairs.

He said junior officers in the national and county governments have accumulated wealth way above their annual incomes through dishonest means that deny genuine traders an opportunity to win tenders.

“We don’t want to criminalise business but conflict of interest must be looked at,” Mr Wetang’ula said.

Dr Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) blamed the Ndegwa Commission report of the 1970s that allowed public officers to do business with government.

Nominated Senator Judith Sijeny said corruption has risen to worrying levels while Tana River Senator Ali Bure said corrupt people should be barred from public office.

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