Cartels riding roughshod within the public service are set to be vanquished under radical proposals by the Building Bridges Initiative to empower the national spy agency.

The BBI team has recommended that the National Intelligence Service establishes a dedicated team of officers to profile and track the cartels.

If the proposals are adopted, the NIS director-general would be compelled to deploy service officers to undertake a rigorous intelligence-led review of the hold of cartels in public service.

The BBI report recommends that the NIS operations would then be linked to the two investigative agencies for evidence to be developed to enable prosecutions.

“NIS will undertake a rigorous intelligence-led review of the hold of cartels in public service,” the report recommends.

The new strategy would mean tough times for cartels running the show in lucrative government departments plagued by massive corruption scandals.

In recent months, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Asset Recovery agency have busted civil servants who have become overnight millionaires while earning just average income.

Many of these government employees have had their assets frozen in court and some forced to forfeit the fortunes to the government.

Such individuals include former Nairobi County Finance minister Jimmy Kiamba who was ordered to pay the government a total of over Sh317 million or forfeit his lavish Runda home.

There were reports that it was the NIS operatives who helped bust a multi-billion tax evasion racket at the Kenya Revenue Authority in May 2019.

The spies had been cherry-picked by the taxman from a pool of thousands of applicants who had responded to job advertisements by KRA.

The BBI report also proposes that the NIS have unfettered powers to vet all applicants for public jobs.

The BBI team has recommended that the law be amended to make it mandatory for NIS to vet all those seeking to join the public service as part of the strategy to build a workforce of people with integrity.

The BBI panel drafted a bill that would amend the National Intelligence Act to ensure that the agency provides all background information to recruiting government departments.

“The Bill proposes to amend the National Intelligence Service Act, 2012 to expand the definition of the words ‘vettable position’ to ensure the Service vets all applicants to public offices,’ reads the BBI report.

According to the current NIS act, a “vettable position” means a State office, public office or position in either level of government requiring the holder of the position to have, access to sensitive or classified information.

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