Anti-graft team warns over graft in use of El Nino funds

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 08:30 | By
El Nino rains. PHOTO/Print

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has cautioned public and State officials against engaging in corruption when buying goods or paying for services as they prepare for El Nino rains.

EACC warned that all procurement and expenditure in readiness for El Niño rains should strictly comply with the law or accounting officers will be held personally liable for any loss or theft or unauthorised expenditure of public funds.

EACC Secretary Twalib Mbarak yesterday said the commission was empowered to advise, on its own initiative, any person on any matter within its functions, under Section 11 of the EACC Act, 2011.

“To this end, the commission advises that all procurements and expenditures undertaken by National Government Ministries/Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and county governments in mitigation measures, in preparation for the anticipated El Nino rains should strictly comply with procurement laws, the Public Finance Management Act and regulations,” said Mbarak in a statement.

He said the Commission’s attention has been drawn to disregard of the law, in the initiation and implementation of some mitigation measures, which is likely to give room for financial impropriety and embezzlement of public funds.

He also stated that the commission may require public entities to assist in ensuring compliance and enforcement of Chapter Six of the Constitution and promotion of standards and best practices in integrity and anti-corruption under Sections 4 (3) and (4) of the Leadership and Integrity Act (LIA).

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Mbarak said the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) gave early warning signs of possible El Nino rains and going until January 2024 across the country.

 Following the announcement, National and County governments are putting in place mitigation plans and interventions aimed at managing the effects of El Nino.

“Under section 4 (2) of the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012, the Commission is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the implementation of the Leadership and Integrity Act (LIA), 2012, which requires state and public officers to uphold high standards of integrity and ethical conduct while discharging public duty,” he affirmed.

On Monday, East African, Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASAL) Cabinet Secretary, Rebecca Miano The Government has said there is a 90 per cent likelihood of an El Nino with above normal rainfall expected in coming days.

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 “The current forecast shows over 90 per cent likelihood of an El Niño with above normal rainfall expected in various locations in coming days. The ASALs are more vulnerable partly due to the terrain they occupy and the impact of five consecutive failed rain seasons that lasted until March this year, by which time livestock mortality had severely weakened the livelihoods of most communities,” she said in a Ministerial statement on El Niño preparedness.

She said most of the ASAL counties are expected to experience floods but Marsabit, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mandera, Narok and Isiolo have been identified as likely to bear the brunt of the impeding El Niño.

Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot on the other hand, are likely to experience landslides. She said the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) under the Ministry has, since August, conducted El Niño preparedness consultations in all of the 23 counties classified as ASALs.

Similarly, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been chairing the El Niño and Impact Mitigation Strategic meeting to avert negative impacts of the rains.

The Deputy President has also stated that discussions are underway with National Treasury on preparedness in terms of resources from the contingency fund, even as he urged the Ministry to establish ways to unlock resources from World Bank and other partners to mitigate negative impact of the rains.

El Niño is a climate phenomenon that occurs a few years apart and that affects the weather patterns around the world. In recent times, Kenya experienced El Niño in 1985, 1997 and 2015 with the 1997 incident recording the highest downpour to date.

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