Recent Rules, Notices and Red Tape

THE Public Service Code of Conduct and Ethics 2016 was published (Gazette supplement, notice 54)

A NEW prison has been gazetted at Oloitoktok (Gazette no.43, notice 2699).

IN a fresh attempt to get public participation in security matters, the government has created the National Committee on Implementation on Citizen Participation in Security in Kenya (Gazette no.43, notice 2700). The same notice names the members of the committee and sets out the terms of reference, which are to:

  • develop a forum that promote citizens’ participation in security matters and facilitate local community leadership structures including, but not limited to, grass root religious and private and public community based institutions to engage on security matters;
  • support the transformative paradigm shift of National Police Service and other Government policing Services toward people Centered services
  • recommend an appropriate legal framework that will entrench the Citizen participation in security matters build on a thorough review of the existing policy, legal and institutional instruments;
  • review and recommend Information Communication Technology (ICT) usage framework to reduce transaction costs of citizens’ participation in security matters. Such framework must include media channels like social media among others and establish a Geographical Information System (GIS) based citizens data bank; and
  • recommend any other measures to be taken to strengthen citizen participation in security as a strategy with a view to enhancing long term national security in Kenya.

The committee’s term of office is 3 years.

The committee seems like a good idea, but it needs to better explain aspects like the GIS to quell fears that this could be a form of illegal government surveillance or illicit monitoring of citizens movements without legal safeguards or court oversight.

THE leader of the majority in the National Assembly has introduced the Bribery Bill 2016 into the house. Getting a draft is difficult but when I succeed, I’ll be sure to post it. Nonetheless, from media reports, it appears that the bill is similar to UK’s Bribery Act 2010 but with draconian touches such as mandatory minimum sentences and a strict liability offence of failing to report a bribe.

More worryingly, the bill seems to require the conviction of a director or manager of a corporation before the corporation itself can be prosecuted for bribery- something that will significantly water down its effect.

Furthermore, from a practical standpoint, the Kenya Economic Survey 2016 that was released last week is an eye opener. It shows that for corruption crimes and some other offences (like murder) the ODPP’s success is at a less than 15% conviction rate. When you compare this with China’s legendary 99.95% conviction rate or the slightly less impressive 90% that the US Attorneys managed in official corruption cases in 2015 (the US numbers include guilty pleas where there was no trial), you can see why the corrupt in Kenya are hardly quaking in their boots over this new law. (I’ll blog more on that 2016 survey later this week).

Finally, like all our previous attempts at anti-corruption legislation, because there is no ‘tone from the top’ showing that the government will pay any price to punish the corrupt (including loss of political support), there’s a high likelihood that after one or two years of furious prosecutorial activity, this law will simply become another pretty piece of statute in the already voluminous canon of anti-corruption law.