Police have issued a stern warning to Government drivers misusing State vehicles for private activities or operating beyond official hours without authorisation.
The warning came as the Parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee condemned the wastage and misappropriation of public funds.
The committee’s chairperson, Mutava Musyimi, said misuse of public vehicles was responsible for the ballooning recurrent expenditure that plagues the country’s economic growth.
“Wastage of Government resources must be condemned whenever and wherever they occur,” the Gachoka MP told The Standard.
Reacting to an expose by The Standard Monday that revealed shocking details of State officers using Government vehicles for personal activities, Traffic Commandant Samwel Kimaru said such acts were illegal and unacceptable.
“We will continue cracking down on those drivers who flout the rules governing the usage of GK vehicles to ensure compliance,” Kimaru told The Standard. He, however, regretted that lack of adequate financial allocation to the check unit — a department under the traffic department that monitors the usage of Government vehicles — saying the little funds available are not enough for countrywide crackdowns. “We are facing serious financial constraints to fuel vehicles for the unit not to mention the fact that some of the cars they are using are worn-out and quite old,” he added.
He said the department has on several occasions forwarded the names of errant drivers and purported authorising officers to concerned departments.
Although he failed to blame the surge of misuse of Government vehicles on inadequate personnel, the traffic boss noted that the unit lacks the capacity to devolve to all the counties to manage the menace.
“We need to revamp the unit or somehow authorise other officers to check the misuse to meet expectations,” he said. Currently, the unit has between 60-70 officers who monitor the use of Government vehicles across the country.
The Government is currently facing a huge wage bill compounded by high inflation rates. The police check unit is located in Nairobi and often travels across the country to keep an eye on State vehicles, but errant drivers seem to have devised strategies to avoid detection and arrest. The unit is mandated to impound and detain vehicles whose drivers violate rules on their use as well as making recommendations to the Office of the President for disciplinary action.
The officers cannot arraign the offending drivers in court, something that allows them to get away with the offences or minimal fines before reverting to their actions.
Government vehicles are not supposed to be driven past 7pm or parked at a private premise. It is also against the law for an unauthorised person to sign the work ticket.
International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) Chief Ndung’u Wainaina accused the Government of hypocrisy, saying it was ironical that it was asking State officers to take a pay cut while at the same time spending recklessly. “It is not enough to tell people that you are looting.
You need to take some concrete steps including arresting and prosecuting the offenders,” he said. He noted that the Constitution criminalises use of public resources — whether offices or cars — for personal gain. Trusted Society of Human rights Alliance Secretary General Elijah ole Sikona said: “We have noted this with a lot of concern as some even go to high-end tourist hotels like Maasai Mara and other social places consuming tax payers money. We shall move to court as soon as our evidence has been put together.”
Source: Standard Digital News