Declaration of Wealth: Legally Stipulated But Missing

Public Officers are required by the law to declare their wealth , that of their spouses and children under 18 years.However, majority of them do not follow the law and they have not suffered any consequence.

The Public Officer Ethics Act 2003 lays down conditions that are meant to ensure that public officers do not use their office to improperly enrich themselves or others.

One of the many conditions is that public officers have to declare income, assets and liabilities of either themselves , their spouse(s) and their children under 18 every second year. The procedures for doing this are lain out in Part IV Sec. 26 to 34 of the Public Officers Ethics Act. If they don’t they are committing an offence.

Penalty if the Declaration of Wealth is missing or wrong

A public officer who does not correctly declare his income, assets and liabilities is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both. (Sec. 32)

Also see the paragraph on forfeiture of unexplained assets in our Penalties page.

A public officer may accept a gift given to him in his official capacity but, unless the gift is a non-monetary gift that does not exceed the value prescribed by regulation, such a gift shall be deemed to be a gift to the public officer’s organisation.

(4) Subsection (2)(a) does not prevent a public officer from accepting a gift from a relative or friend given on a special occasion recognized by custom.

Note that the Codes of Conduct of some Public Officers also provide for Declaration of Wealth. This makes it an additional offence, the breach of code. This was contested by Kenyan teachers protests in 2016 – but they were obviously not aware that the provision is in the Ethics Act for them as well.

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