Economy

Kepsa: Set up bureau listing for the corrupt

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Attorney-General Paul Kariuki confers with Kepsa CEO Carole Kariuki during the 2019 National Anti-Corruption Conference by the Multisectoral Initiative Against Corruption at the Bomas of Kenya January 24, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) says the establishment of a Corruption Reference Bureau will lead to blacklisting of firms engaged in corrupt practices.
  • The bureau will have companies implicated in corrupt deals reported and listed when vetting them for award of contracts in both private and public sector.

The business community has proposed setting up of a reporting mechanism for companies and individuals convicted of corruption in the renewed fight against graft which is estimated to wipe out half of Kenyan budget every year.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) says the establishment of a Corruption Reference Bureau will lead to blacklisting of firms engaged in corrupt practices.

The bureau will have companies implicated in corrupt deals reported and listed when vetting them for award of contracts in both private and public sector.

The proposed system, the chairperson of public finance on Kepsa board Habil Olaka said, will work like the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) set up in 2013 as a measure of creditworthiness for businesses and individuals looking for loans.

“Just like CRB has worked in deterring bad borrowers, the bureau will also facilitate the war on corruption,” Dr Olaka said during a presentation to the two-day private sector-led Multi-Sectoral National Conference on Corruption which started Thursday in Nairobi.

The creation of a corruption bureau was part a raft of proposals by the private sector to deter and mitigate corruption which has entrenched itself in procurement processes in both public and private sectors over the years.

Other recommendations included enactment of Whistleblower Bill to protect against intimidation and harassment of those who report corrupt deals and tightening of the Bribery Act which has provisions for punishing both the giver and taker of bribes.

Prosecution of private sector players for graft is now possible after the Bribery Act 2016 addressed previous gaps in the judicial system that made it difficult to sue both the giver and taker of bribes.

Corruption has become the “biggest industry” in Kenya, gulping down about a third of annual budget, speakers at the meeting said, referring to an estimation by former EACC chair Philip Kinisu in March 2016.

Kepsa has also pledged to facilitate creation of a public register of property owners and beneficiaries by May 2022 to enhance transparency in the transfer of assets and a code of conduct for every industry.

The conference has been organised by a multi-sectoral movement against corruption.