FIGHTING CORRUPTION: CLEANSING THE SYSTEM:
Corruption has emerged as one of the biggest vices ailing Kenya. The nation stands at position 139 out of 168 countries according to the 2015 Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International. This situation prompted the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) to develop and present to the President a legislation called "Bribery Bill" back in November 2015. A Cabinet Meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the 22nd of March 2016 later approved and adopted the Bill. The anti graft law will now be presented in the National Assembly for debate.
The proposed Bribery Bill aims to criminalize both the offering and receiving of bribes. This will be true for any individual, whether local or foreign. All facets of bribery have been covered including making promises to give something in exchange for an advantage. The Bill also makes it a requirement for private entities to have in place procedures that will help in the prevention of bribery. The Cabinet explained that this requirement was added in because the private sector was essentially the "supply side" of the bribery equation, so it would make sense to stop bribery at its source.
Any private firm, whether local or foreign that conducts business or charity work in the country will be subject to the new law. It will be compulsory for the firms to "have in place procedures appropriate to their size and nature of operations for the prevention of bribery". This is meant to force firms to implement internal rules that will stop workers from giving or receiving bribes. Any firm that fails to put up these measures will have their directors, senior officers or any other individual acting in these capacities liable to abetting corruption and as such will face jail terms of up to 12 months.
Any individual or firm suspected to have benefited from a bribe would have their properties seized. Also, according to the new law, any company or person found to be giving or receiving bribes would be barred from ever transacting business with the government. This would be an especially apt addition considering the recent major corruption scandal involving the National Youth Service where several private companies were awarded approximately 760 million shillings through irregularly acquired contracts.
Successful implementation of this Bill would be considered a major success in the fight against corruption. Corruption has consistently undermined the country's prosperity, security and future. Setting up and implementing strong policies is crucial to having an efficient anti corruption system. This is a war that has to be won if Kenya is to succeed, so it is great to see that there is support for the bill, and the will to ensure that it works.