Since assuming office on September 19, 2022, President William Ruto’s administration has proposed new pieces of legislation seeking to introduce hefty fines and jail terms for institutions and ordinary Kenyans for various offences.
Mostly, the penalties proposed have revolved around Ruto’s key programmes in housing, health, agriculture and finance.
Some of these penalties are currently being enforced while some are still in the pipeline for public participation and debate in Parliament.
Here are 10 major penalties that have been proposed by Ruto’s government since September 2022.
Affordable houses constructed in Ongata Rongai.
- Delayed Remittance
Under the contentious levy, the government has proposed penalties for any late remittances by employers and Kenyans who are mandated to make the payments themselves.
As documented in the proposed Affordable Housing Bill, late remittances will attract a penalty of three per cent of the amount due.
“Where an amount of the Levy remains unpaid after the date when it becomes due and payable by a person liable to remit the amount, a penalty equal to three per cent of the unpaid amount shall be due and payable for each month or part thereof that the amount remains unpaid and shall be summarily recovered as a civil debt from the person liable to remit the amount,” read the bill tabled by National Assembly leader of Majority Kimani Ichung’wah in December 2023.
Social Health Insurance Fund
- Over Deduction
As per the Social Health Insurance Act No 16 of 2023, it is an offence for an employer to deduct more than the prescribed 2.75 per cent of the salary/ income deductions.
Such employers face a stiff penalty of Ksh2 million and a jail term not exceeding three years.
- Falsified Documentation
In the event one falsifies documents to get benefits, they will have committed an offence as outlined in the Act.
“A person who for the purpose of obtaining any benefit for himself or herself or for any other person, knowingly makes any false statement or representation, or produces or furnishes, or causes to be produced or furnished, any document or information which he or she knows to be false in any material particular, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both,” reads the Act in part.
- Access to Government Services
Kenyans who fail to enroll for the mandatory Social Health Insurance coverage will be denied government services at the national and county government level, as per the regulations proposed by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha.
Some of the services highlighted included marriage registration, property transfer, and access to student loans among others.
“A public officer or public entity shall undertake such compliance checks as may be necessary including requesting a person seeking a government service in the public entity to provide their social health insurance number,” read the regulations in part.
- Sharing of Data
Under the Digital Health Bill, it was noted that any Kenyan who loses or shares critical health information of a person with an unauthorised entity without consent commit a crime.
Such a person faces a fine of Ksh1 million shillings and an option of a 15-year jail term.
President William Ruto registering for the Hustler Fund on November 30, 2022, as Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Vincent Mutua (Chipukeezy) look on.
Under Ruto’s brainchild, various penalties were introduced for defaults in loan repayments.
“15 days after the date of default the interest rate will be adjusted to 9.5 per cent per annum. Thereafter, persistent default spanning 30 days and over will see you lose your existing credit score and your account frozen.
“Interest continues to accrue pegged on the in-duplum rule and recovery methods will be initiated,” the Hustler Fund operation module read in part.
As proposed in the Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023 by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, any Kenyan that offers animal production services such as services in animal feeding and nutrition faces a fine of Ksh500,000.
“Unlicensed persons are prohibited from charging fees for animal production services and it is an offence to do so punishable by imposition of a fine not exceeding Ksh500,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment,” reads the proposed bill in part.
- Poultry Farming
Equally, under the Livestock (Poultry Industry) Regulations 2023, poultry breeders must register their stock with the government.
The bill also proposed that poultry and its products will only be sold in areas designated by the country’s government.
“A person who contravenes the provisions of this regulation commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh50,000 or imprisonment for a period not less than 6 months or both.
- Unlicensed Inspectors
“A person who carries out the functions of a poultry inspector without having been duly appointed by the Authority commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine of Ksh500,000 or to imprisonment for a period of one year, or to both,” read the proposed regulations.
A photo of employees from the Red Cross assisting in areas affected by heavy rains in Kenya in 2023
- Falsified Reliefs
In the National Disaster Risk Management Bill, 2023 Bill proposed by Ichung’wah, Kenyans who lie to seek relief in case of damages due to calamities risk fines worth millions.
The bill aims to help the government effectively respond to disasters such as floods that occasionally destroy the property of Kenyans.
“A person who knowingly makes a claim which the person knows or has reason to believe to be false, for the purpose of obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits from the Authority, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both,” the bill proposed.