Speech from Chairman for Engineers’ Role in the Fight Against Corruption
Engineering affects all the facets of our lives in one way or another. Yet, despite of all the good that the engineering industry continues to impact to the society, the industry is perceived to be tainted with corruption.
Given the pivotal nature of engineering in the sustainable development and prosperity of Nations, it goes without saying that if corruption permeates the profession, then that is a death knell to any society and hope for prosperity are dimmed.
Corruption, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is the impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle.
In the engineering industry, corruption can take several forms depending on who is involved. Corruption occurs when individuals make bad decisions. The main forms of corruption of course are kickbacks and bribery, bid rigging and collusion, fraud, and conflicts of interest among others.
Governments and the Global Community have been tightening their legislation against corruption through treaties, conventions, policies and laws. Examples include the United Nations Convention against Corruption; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery; the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption among others.
Our Country has not been left behind either. Chapters 4 and 6 of our Constitution and Articles 10, 232, are all aimed at combating corruption.
Further, the Government has enacted various statutes to tame corruption including the Public Officer Ethics Act, Leadership And Integrity Act and The Public Service Values & Principles Act, 2015.
The Board has taken an active role in joining hands with other stakeholders in developing strategies towards combating the vice in the Country. The Board is a member of the Kenya Leadership and Integrity Forum, a multisector stakeholder’s forum consisting of 15 sectors who are partnering in the fight against corruption and unethical practices in Kenya.
KLIF brings together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society and religious organizations to map out an integrated approach to preventing and combating corruption.
In line with this initiative, the Board has now endeavored to champion the enforcement of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for engineers, having enshrined the Code in the Engineers Rules, 2019 as the Sixth schedule
The Code calls on engineers to uphold integrity, honour & dignity in the profession. Indeed, one of the Fundamental Canons of the Code provides that an Engineer shall at all times “Act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.”
The Code of Conduct and Ethics further addresses the importance of the engineer being conscious of their obligations to the society and their employers and clients and act with integrity at all times.
In particular, under the obligations to clients and employer, the engineer is obligated to among other things;
a) Disclose all conflict of interest,
b) Not to accept compensation/financial gain from more than one party on same project;
c) Not to solicit or accept financial or other valuable consideration from contractors or their agents.
It is therefore clear that any form of corruption is abhorred and must be shunned.
The Board recognizes the ever increasing complexity of engineering projects and the challenging environment that engineers operate in. It is for this reason that the Board is supporting interventions, including development of appropriate tools (such as Scale of Fees for engineers, engineers practicing manual etc) as well as undertaking trainings and sensitization workshops to equip engineers with the skills to identify and tackle challenges that may compromise their integrity and to encourage them to be steadfast in their professional practice.
I laud the Institution for organizing this important Webinar and hope that it will go a long way in helping engineers uphold ethical professional practice.
ENG. ERASTUS K. MWONGERA , FIEK,RCE,CBS
ENGINEERS BOARD OF KENYA