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Ringera Exposes Rot at the Pensions Department 

By Mutinda Mwanzia, The Standard


November 14, 2008

 

Kenya

 

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (Kacc) has issued a damning report on the Pensions Department, Ministry of Finance, and called for an overhaul in its operations.

Kacc Director Justice Aaron Ringera said corruption is rife in the department and called for transparency and accountability.

"The department needs to promote integrity through the application of systems of work that leave no room for corrupt practices," said Ringera. 

He said the Pensions Department had operational weaknesses, especially poor customer care, lack of proper complaints channels and delays in processing of pensions.

"Checks by our officers witnessed cases where (pension) officers shouted at clients," he said. 

He said brokers freely operate in the department, thus creating fertile grounds for corruption.

Ringera was speaking during the presentation of the examination report on systems, policies and practices of the Pensions Department.

Frustrated clients

Present during the function was Kacc Assistant Director Smokin Wanjala, Director of Pensions Ann Mugo and Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mutua Kilaka.

He said inefficiencies often lead to loss of documents.

Ringera said officers at the department have low morale and lack enthusiasm while carrying out their duties.

"This forces them to engage in unethical practices. Frustrated clients may offer bribes as a way of motivating them," said Ringera.

He said financial management at the department is poor and lacks internal checks and balances.

"This has led to delayed payments, diversion of funds, overpayments, underpayments and loss of payments," he said.

He said records are accessible to any staff member.

Missing files

"Persons receiving files from the registries are not recorded and it is difficult to track a file leaving one section to another," said Ringera.

He said the loophole had made it difficult to hold staff accountable for any missing files.

Ringera said there was need to restructure the pensions department to reduce duplication of roles by officers.

He said a programme should be instituted to sensitise staff on positive attitude while on duty.

Ringera challenged the public to remain vigilant and report malpractices to Kacc for action.


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