EDITORIAL: Move to curb corruption loopholes in Judiciary timely

The Judiciary should be commended for adopting measures aimed at tightening its financial management rules in a bid to seal off loopholes that have led to the plunder of funds at the institution in the past.

Kenyans have recently been shocked by the impunity among officials in the public service where hundreds of millions of shillings of taxpayers funds are being plundered as if there is no tomorrow.

As the body tasked with meting out punishment on offenders in society, the Judiciary has instead been rocked by scandals that have besmirched the image of the institution.

With the launch of the Finance Policy and Procedures Manual, no payments will be processed for suppliers and contractors without evidence of provision of goods and services.

We welcome this move as reports abound on how officials in government institutions inflate tenders and pay hundreds of millions of shillings for non-existent goods and unfinished projects.

The auditor-general has in the past unearthed underhand schemes where some Judiciary officials colluded with contractors and fleeced the government millions of shillings.

The reports unearthed massive misuse of Judiciary finances in which officials ignored government guidelines to make aance payments for contracts that were never executed.

Officials have also been barred from converting revenue received in shillings to foreign currencies. It was found that some officials were exploiting the loophole to steal money by quoting lower exchange rates.

It is therefore timely to see the Judiciary moving with speed to plug the loopholes that have enriched a few corrupt individuals.

The manual states that review of procurement requisitions, approval of LPOs and processing of payments will be handled independently by finance, accounts and supply chain departments respectively.

Our only plea is that the manual be enforced to the letter if the war against corruption at the organisation is to be won.
According to the manual, all payments will now have to be backed by “duly authorised documentation” in order to be processed.

We reiterate that the clean up that has been rolled out will only succeed if those found guilty of plundering public funds are prosecuted and their assets seized.

It is time to ensure that going forward corruption and theft will no longer be viewed as positive attributes in society.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY