The EACC is probing six counties in relation to corruption-related offences, CEO Twalib Mbarak has said.
Although Mbarak declined to name the counties, he said two of those under the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission are in the Coast region.
The coast region comprises Mombasa, Kwale, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Tana River counties.
Speaking in Mombasa on Saturday, Mbarak said the commission made good progress last year and that 2020 has started on an even better stride.
“Currently, we have about six counties that are actually our top priority. We are looking at all the officials in the counties. It can be from the governor downwards or a certain group within the procurement and the finance departments,” Mbarak said.
Speaking at the Youth Empowerment Programme Initiative’s 4th Annual Entrepreneurship Summit, Mbarak said no county is safe from their scrutiny.
He said counties whose crucial offices have been razed in mysterious fires are not off the hook because there were other ways to get evidence.
Kitui and Busia are among counties where fires has burnt finance offices in what has been claimed to be an attempt by officials to interfere with crucial documents.
“It is true there are a number of counties whose offices have been burnt. But if you look at the trend, it looks suspicious,” Mbarak said.
“The message to them is very clear. As much as they are trying to burn the offices, we will try to reconstruct the evidence and they cannot escape.”
He said the commission had already recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the officials of a certain county be charged with malicious damage to public documents.
Mbarak was the chief guest alongside Kentrade chairman Suleiman Shahbal.
Shabal said corruption is one of the main impediments to youth entrepreneurship.
“Unless they follow the correct procedures of accountability and tender processes. If they don’t follow, the EACC will be after them,” Shabal said.
He said the EACC is determined to restore sanity in counties.
“County officials should know that they are there to serve the people not to serve their personal stomachs,” Mbarak said.
He said the commission was probing a lack of adherence to procurement processes which puts the focus on the procurement departments.
“We are also looking at projects that, if you go on the ground, the value for money is not there,” Mbarak said.
He said most county projects are haphazardly done and the amount of money said to have been spent does not reflect what is on the ground.
The two leaders said the youth, constituting about 70 per cent of Kenya’s population, have a crucial role to play in the fight against corruption.
Shahbal said if the youth empower themselves economically, they would be in a better position to participate positively in the politics of the country.
“If they participate positively in the politics of the country, the level of governance will definitely improve,” Shabal said.
Shahbal said most youth don’t vote in general elections, giving an opportunity to the wrong people to be elected into office.
Mbarak said the youth vote as a block for the right people.
“If we have good leadership, especially at the county level, definitely cases of corruption will go down because we will have leaders who are more accountable,” Mbarak said.
He said in most cases, the corruption experienced in counties is because of poor leadership. “How come that some counties are not facing any issues to do with malpractice and corruption? It is because the leadership is very strong,” Mbarak said.
This article was originally published on The Star.