Teachers with questionable wealth could soon land in trouble following a new rule requiring their employer to report them to anti-graft agencies.
The Teachers Service Commission will also report to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General if there are any doubts with a wealth declaration made by a teacher.
The new measures are contained in the administrative procedures on the processing of declarations of income assets and liabilities published by the TSC in the latest Kenya Gazette notice.
The rules signed by TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia provide that the commission secretary or any designated officer shall review each declaration to ascertain if they have met the set conditions.
The reports will follow instances where the declaration by an employee is false or incomplete; has assets disproportionate to his or her known income; or has income, assets or liabilities with concerns of impropriety.
Other key pointers to violations of the law are on whether there would be a conflict of interest or any other breach of the TSC Code of Conduct and Ethics in the declarations made.
“The commission or the authorised officer may take such action as considered appropriate including notifying Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions or any other competent authority,” the procedures read.
The TSC would be making the recommendations for the agencies to institute civil or criminal action against the non-compliant teachers.
In the event there is a reason to suspect that a teacher has made a false or incomplete declaration, they will be given an opportunity to make a clarification.
“The request for clarification to the teacher (declarant) shall be made in writing in a prescribed format,” the rules state.
The reports to the anti-graft agencies will follow in instances where irregularities and inconsistencies are noted even after clarification by a teacher.
“The TSC secretary shall inform the commission of any employee who does not comply with the provisions of the Act,” the rules read.
They give TSC powers to direct that administrative action be taken against a teacher found in breach of the Public Officers’ Ethics Act.
“The commission shall notify the EACC, AG, DPP, or any other competent authority in relation to civil or criminal action against that employee,” the rules read.
TSC has been grappling with failure by many teachers to declare wealth, a situation which saw the commission hold salaries of over 3,500 teachers and staffers last year.
In previous directives, the commission has indicated that those who fail to declare their wealth or give false information will be fined Sh1 million or jailed for one year.
Data held by the commission revealed that over 40,000 teachers and staff had not declared wealth as of December 2019, which the TSC granted an extension to January 2020.
The TSC code of ethics demands that teachers must submit an initial declaration 30 days after employment; a final declaration 30 days after leaving employment, and biannually.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in Executive Order 6 of 2015 said no public servants, irrespective of their station, would be spared in the fight to eliminate corruption.
“We cannot allow the hard work and sacrifice of Kenyans to be undermined by a few individuals driven by sheer greed. I am determined that this vice must end.”
“You are reminded of the requirement for all public servants to serve with integrity and in an ethical manner in the course of their duty, an obligation they must all adhere to,” the president said.
He directed that ministries, state departments, and agencies adhere to anti-corruption laws among them Article 10 of the Constitution, Leadership and Integrity Act, PFM Act, and Public Officers Ethics Act.
The TSC, citing the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, says it will submit to the EACC two-year declarations by every July 31.
The commission report will be required to state the number of public officers in the payroll as of October 31, of the declaration year.
It would also be required to state the total number of public officers who have submitted declarations within the prescribed time as those that that have failed as of June 30 every year.
The TSC will be required to report any action taken in relation to any public officer who has failed to comply with the Act, the number of declarations verified, findings of the verification, and any action taken.
The teachers’ employer will keep a database capturing the name of the employee, TSC number, cellphone number, and designation; station, as well as their sub-county and county.