EACC warns governors against mistreating previous administration staff

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has warned new governors not to abuse employees hired by the previous administrations since doing so could lead to legal action being taken against them.

CEO Twalib Mbarak expressed concern over a developing pattern of actual or threatened legal violations by several county governments in the administration of county workers in a letter to county chiefs.

“This is more prevalent in counties where new administrations were ushered in after the August 2022 general election,” Mbarak said.

The county secretaries and chairs of public service boards also received copies of the letter, and they were warned against breaking the law while handling unpaid invoices and hiring new employees.

“The commission notes that some incoming governors and their administrations are handling existing staff, new recruitment and pending bills in disregard of the applicable laws, policies and procedures,” Mbarak said.

He said some new governors have expressed unwillingness to work with certain members of staff who had been hired by the previous regimes.

“In some instances, such staff are being threatened with sacking, dismissals, or subjected to unwarranted, illegal or unprocedural disciplinary procedures aimed at forcing their exit from office,” Mbarak said.

He cautioned that such activities could result in legal action against the responsible county officials as well as other unfavorable effects, such as the loss of county funding.

When disciplinary action is judged necessary against veteran county employees, Mbarak instructed the new governors to respect the law.

“The commission advises that where any disciplinary action is envisaged against existing county staff, the same must be carried out strictly in compliance with, and adherence to, the existing policies, procedures and the law,” Mbarak said.

Any such disciplinary action, according to him, must be implemented after consultation with pertinent organisations, such as the Public Service Board, which is in charge of hiring, assigning, and disciplining county government employees.

According to the CEO, if criminal activity, such as corruption or the misuse of funds, is claimed or used as justification to reprimand a county employee, a report should be made to the Commission or another law enforcement agency.

During their swearing-in ceremonies, the current group of governors made history by becoming the first to sign the EACC’s oath of honesty.

The integrity code is intended to obstruct county governments’ rampant corruption and bind the leaders to uphold high standards of honesty.

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