THE maladministration and mismanagement of public office that culminates in the loss of taxpayer money will be a practice no longer tolerated, as government officials will be brought to book by the newly established Integrity Committees.
The Director General of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Paulus Noa officiated at opening of a two day training session which will see newly appointed Integrity Committees gain knowledge to serve different government Offices Ministries and Agencies (OMAs) nationwide in the fight against corruption.
Noa stated that in the decisions taken within OMAs should be done according to the law.
“Tender awards from ministries to certain companies without following procurement procedures will not be tolerated. You are the ground soldiers to ensure that these institutions play by the book. If there is wrong doing, whoever is responsible should be brought to account. We need to increase the level of transparency and accountability in public institutions. As Integrity Committee members, you are expected to work as ears and eyes of the Executive Directors and Chief Regional Officers and to act as ethics and integrity champions.” Noa urged.
He added that the snowball effect that the more than 400 staff members from 35 Ministries and 14 Regional Councils the newly established integrity committees should not be undermined in warranting that smart approaches that must ensure compliance with legal provisions and policies are promoted and practiced
Noa further said corruption within public office is currently being perpetrated through mal-administration. Noa however stated that these corrupt decisions, which lead to millions being unethically spent, are not considered as criminal acts but administrative acts.
He added that ultimately the economy suffers as no action is taken and as such there is a need to pursue administrative corruption and unethical conduct.
“Funds from the budgets of respective OMAs will be used to train staff on ethical issues and conduct. Most officials state that there are not fully aware of what they are allowed to do and not. With this training, intention of criminality will be proven as someone knows what is corrupt and not and yet still decides to do it,” Noa said.
He added that there is no restriction placed as to number of committee members in each OMA and that there is no limit on the time these committee members can serve in these watchdog positions.
Noa further explained that during the current training, seven OMAs underwent training, whilst 13 OMAs were trained over the past three weeks. In addition, a total of 14 OMAs will be trained later this month as well as 14 regional councils.
The establishment of Integrity Committees is responsive to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2016-2019 that calls for comprehensive national instruments to ensure governance oversight on ethics and integrity management at ministerial level.
The establishment of Integrity Committee is also in line with the revised Public Service Staff Rule (PSSR E.X/II-) on Code of Conduct, Integrity and Ethics, and the Anti-Corruption initiatives.
This Policy was revised to; assist Offices, Ministries and Agencies and Regional Councils to instill ethics and integrity in the Public Service, support and strengthen anti-corruption initiatives in the Public Service, set institutional arrangements to support expected ethical behavior and conduct and to promote and strengthen a culture of integrity, trust and highest standards of ethics.