President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed Attorney General Paul Kihara to draft a bill barring public servants including the police from operating businesses that are in conflict with their work.
Uhuru decried growing conflict of interest among State officials asserting it was impeding service delivery especially among law enforcers.
“I want the AG to draft a bill as soon as possible to address the issue…officials will have two choices, whether they want to serve Kenyans or do business,” he said.
Business as usual
Speaking at the just-concluded National Anti-Corruption Conference at the Bomas of Kenya on Friday, the Head of State warned it was not going to be business as usual in his administration.
Once the bill because law, it will bar dodgy government officials who spend their time running their own businesses instead of helping to run the country.
It means, police officers who have invested in the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) sector will have to withdraw from the business and concentrate on law enforcement.
There have been concerns that traffic police have failed to effectively implement road safety rules since they are part of active players.
Uhuru’s directive is therefore aimed at bringing sanity to the police force and especially traffic police officers who have been accused of harassing motorists and taking bribes.
At the same time, the Head of State has taken a swipe at the Judiciary for “unreasonable” injunctions against graft suspects.
He said some officials were abusing the principal of “not guilty until proven otherwise,” he said.
Uhuru emphasised the need for all concerned bodies to do their work in a bid to ensure that cases are successfully prosecuted.
Opposition chief Raila Odinga who also spoke at the event urged the Judiciary to exercise fairness in its handling of suspects regardless of their social strata.
“When a chicken thief is taken to court, he is not given bail, but people who steal millions are given bail…and then the Judiciary looks sorry and the police look sorry, this must stop,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uhuru has asked Chief Justice David Maraga to get used to the bloggers, who he had earlier accused of being used to undermine him.
“I saw you were very angry today especially with a group called the bloggers. We tried to pass a law to stop them from insulting all of us but it was taken to the courts and declared illegal,” Uhuru recalled amid laughter.
“I urge you to get used to it,” he added.
Earlier, a visibly angry Maraga defended his turf and accused police and prosecution of presenting weak cases before Judiciary. He also said blame games, attacks by bloggers and Friday arrests will not help the war on graft.
“We are not going to win the war against corruption by Friday arrests. I do not want to appear like I am in blame game but let the truth be told! The Judiciary does not go out there to look for cases; those who feel aggrieved come to us and file cases,” he said.
He said judges and magistrates make rulings and judgments guided by the Constitution. He advised the agencies to carry out thorough investigations before presenting a case, adding that courts will not convict innocent persons.
“The war against corruption will not be won by blame-games and by people who are involved here because some are even hiring professional bloggers to demonise even the Judiciary,” he said.
Maraga told the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, to come up with new ways of presenting his cases in court.
“When you have 30 suspects on one charge sheet, each of them is represented by a lawyer, how long do you think the case will take?” he said. He said magistrates will work on their own discretion and will not allow lawyers who have many cases to waste their time adding that there are instances a single lawyer appears in all corruption cases.
“We are not going to allow this in future. If you have taken a corruption case and you have taken another, it cannot work. To those who are aggrieved, if your lawyer is defending so and so we will not wait for him or you to appear in court,” he said.
He also promised to root out corruption from the corridors of justice, regretting that some judicial officers ignore automated revenue collection established in 90 per cent of court stations and instead insist on cash payments.
“As we address the external cases of corruption, we must look inward and see if there are logs in our eye. Instead of using M-Pesa to collect revenue, they ask convicts to pay cash.”