The truth about Conflict of Interest Bill, explains Sifuna

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Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna appearing on Spice FM on Wednesday, July 10. [Screen grab]

Nairobi County Senator Edwin Sifuna has criticised the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for its comments on the controversial Conflict of Interest Bill, 2024. 

Speaking on Spice FM on Wednesday, July 10, Sifuna disputed the EACC’s claim that Senators have removed clauses from the Bill, weakening the entity's ability to address conflicts of interest.

He argued that current laws on Conflict of Interest are covered by multiple Acts, some of which are redundant. The Senators, he explained, have streamlined these laws into a single law without exempting anyone from legal scrutiny or punishment.

“What the EACC is saying is false. We did not delete the clauses they are referring to. We are removing existing provisions in other laws to consolidate them into one comprehensive law. If you have three separate laws on conflict of interest, you want to bring them under one law. It’s a clean-up of the legislative process,” said Sifuna.

One of the laws proposed for deletion is Section 42 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which, if removed, would hinder the prosecution of public officers involved in conflicts of interest.

Sifuna disputed the EACC’s claim that Senators have removed clauses from the bill, weakening the entity's ability to address conflicts of interest.

The Nairobi Senator who recently came under fire for voting in support of the Bill argued that this section is vague, as it refers to an agent and a principal without clear definitions.

The proposed bill, he says, seeks to clarify the language, ensuring it is clear who is liable and for what.

“In the proposed Bill, we have clearly stated that a public officer is in conflict of interest if they exercise official powers, duties, or functions to further their private interests or those of another person, or if they fail to declare and register a private interest that conflicts with the public interest,” he said.

Sifuna also mentioned Section 11 of the Public Officer Act, which prohibits public officers from using their positions for personal enrichment, and Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which similarly states that using one’s office to improperly benefit oneself or others is an offense.

By removing Section 11 and retaining Section 46, Sifuna states that the proposed legislation ensures public officers are still accountable for conflicts of interest.

Regarding the declaration of assets and liabilities, he pointed out that the Public Officer Ethics Act already provides a comprehensive procedure for wealth declaration. Thus, removing the redundant provisions under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act simplifies the legal framework.

Sifuna called on the EACC to be honest with the public and avoid creating unnecessary controversy through false accusations.

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