Taxman, PS on the spot over partisan political campaign

KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini. FILE PHOTO | NMG
KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Kenya Revenue Authority boss John Njiraini and Energy principal secretary Joseph Njoroge are among a dozen public officials who risk losing their plum jobs for allegedly using taxpayer funds to engage in the ongoing political campaigns.

The Ombudsman has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko asking him to take to court 12 officials, including five governors, for using public resources in campaigns and advertising their projects to woo voters, contrary to the Election Offences Act, 2016. Offenders face a six-year jail term.

Taxman Njiraini and Mr Njoroge are accused of engaging in “partisan political activities” by allegedly attending a fundraising dinner for President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 9, 2017.

The two are also accused of being signatories to a bank account at Equity Bank belonging to Friends of Jubilee Foundation, a body which supports re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho is accused of campaigning for Jubilee Party in Kirinyaga County.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Peter Munya (Meru), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), and Julius Malombe (Kitui) are on the spot for using taxpayers money to advertise their achievements in print and electronic media.

“We note that unlawful use of public resources or pacification of appointive public officers in partisan political activities amount to maladministration in the public sector,” says acting Ombudsman Regina Mwatha in a letter dated July 12.

“In particular, such acts amount to abuse of power, improper conduct, unlawful official conduct, and misbehavior in public administration,” reads the letter addressed to the DPP and copied to the Auditor General and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The Ombudsman’s office is charged with enforcing integrity and holding public servants accountable on acts such as service failure, delay, inaction, inefficiency, ineptitude, discourtesy and unresponsiveness.

“Except as authorised under this Act or any other written law, a candidate, referendum committee or other person shall not use public resources for the purpose of campaigning during an election or a referendum,” reads section 14(1) of the Election Offences Act