Whistle Blowers' Computer Link Cut in Kenya

Computing

A computer system in Government offices that enables public servants to report corruption cases anonymously has been blocked, threatening the war against graft. Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, which runs the service through its official website, exposed the technical ploy.

The Business Keeper Monitor System (BKMS), a unique data encryption system that guarantees anonymous mode of reporting corruption, could no longer be used as some Government departments have blocked access to the Anti-Corruption Commission's official website.

The watchdog's public relations officer, Nicholas Simani, confirmed that "some Government departments were involved" but said measures were being put in place to correct the situation. Until the network is restored, civil servants can only report corruption cases through cyber cafes or through private computers connected to the Internet.

Sources at Integrity Centre, the graft watchdog's headquarters in Nairobi, are blaming the problem on senior officials in "a few Government departments." Earlier, the commission had circulating leaflets in Government offices encouraging civil servants to make use of the technology to report graft cases.

The source revealed "senior officials" had instructed Information Technology (IT) experts in some ministries to be monitoring sites frequently browsed by their employees, and keep a record of employees visiting "forbidden web pages."

The Anti-Corruption Commission had managed to have its web pages networked to most Government websites to enable users to have easy access. The graft watchdog had come up with the BKMS technology to protect civil servants who have information and documents to share regarding graft.

The Nation