By Benard Mulwa
The African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption – Kenya Chapter (APNAC-Kenya) is deeply concerned about the proposed amendments to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003. After two decades of existence, the Act has played a crucial role in the fight against corruption in Kenya. These proposed amendments, if passed, risk retrogressing our efforts in combating corruption and violating Kenya’s constitutional principles and international commitments.
Parliament has received a proposed amendment to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to delete Section 64 of the Act providing for the disqualification of persons convicted of corruption or economic crimes from being elected or appointed as public officers. We MPs, who are members of APNAC-Kenya, strongly oppose this proposed amendment which is inconsistent with the Constitution of Kenya and offends several constitutional provisions including our National Values and Principles of Governance under Article 10 and Principles of Leadership and Integrity under Chapter Six of the Constitution among many other provisions in law that would be inconsistent with the proposed amendment.
We are also aware that there is another proposed amendment to ACECA under section 45(2) (b) and (c). The proposed amendment seeks to remove accountability by public officials offences related to noncompliance with procurement laws, procedures and guidelines and the pler,entation of unplanned projects.
APNAC-Kenya recognizes the need for continuous improvement in our legal framework to combat corruption effectively. However, these amendments, as currently proposed, raise serious concerns that could hinder our progress in the fight against corruption. We urge the government and all stakeholders to consider the potential consequences of these amendments carefully. Such amendments could undermine the effectiveness of the Act in deterring corruption and prosecuting offenders.
Hon. Shakeel Shabibir Ahmed, the Chairman of the lobby group said, “Kenya has made international commitments to combat corruption, including signing the United Nation;, Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) requiring states to implement measures for disqualification or removal of individuals convicted of corruption from public office,” adding that the African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption (AUCPCCl also requires state parties to adopt measures to hold individuals accountable including individuals who hold public office.
The proposed amendments should be evaluated in light of these commitments to ensure Kenya’s compliance with international standards including
The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 has been a cornerstone in Kenya’s efforts to combat corruption, a menace that has undermined our national development and eroded the public’s trust in the government. Over the years, this Act has provided a legal framework that empowers law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute corrupt Individuals and entities. It has also promoted transparency, accountability, and integrity in public service, helping to safeguard Kenya’s resources for the benefit of all citizens.
We therefore call for a transparent and inclusive process that involves consultation with oversight agencies including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Office of the Auditor General, other oversight institutions, civil society, legal experts, and the public to ensure that any amendments to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 are In line with best practices, uphold the principles of our Constitution, and meet Kenya’s international commitments in the fight against corruption.
APNAC-Kenya remains committed to working collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders to strengthen our anti-corruption efforts and ensure that Kenya remains on the path towards a more transparent, accountable, and corruption-free society.
By Benard Mulwa