Economy

Provide public data or lose State tenders, private firms warned

regina

Acting Ombudsman Regina Mwatha. AFP photo

The Ombudsman has warned private companies that they face being barred from doing business with the government if they fail to disclose information to the public under a new anti-secrecy law.

The Commission on Administrative Justice has directed all private firms to immediately hire information officers who will act as the bridge for citizens seeking information as provided for under the Access to Information Act.

Private firms that fail to publicly name their designated information officers face a Sh0.5 million fine; with CEOs of such companies facing a Sh300,000 fine and a six-month jail term for obstructing access to data.

“A relevant private body convicted of any offence under the Act may be debarred from entering into any future contract with government under the laws relating to matters of procurement and disposal,” acting Ombudsman Regina Mwatha told Business Daily.

The private entities affected by this information law include all companies and NGOs which receive taxpayer funds, companies which provide public services such as telcos, and those exploiting natural resources such as oil, mineral wealth.

Dr Mwatha said all public and private entities must designate information officers and begin processing requests for data from the public.