Target private sector in war on corruption, anti-graft agency told

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Target private sector in war on corruption, anti-graft agency told

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Private sector executives say the ongoing war on corruption will only be effectively won if anti-graft watchdogs also target individuals in the private who abet the vice by bribing public officials to win tenders.

“Public officials avail the demand while private sector players perpetuate graft by splashing monies that result in bending of rules. As a result, we have unqualified professionals who cannot practice their trade properly but deliver half-baked results,” said Jubilee Holdings Group chief executive Julius Kipng’etich.

He was speaking at an international Fraud Awareness Week during a one-day breakfast meeting in Nairobi the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) convened yesterday.

The forum heard that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) must rethink its approach of only punishing public officials and shift their focus on private sector players.

Dr Kipng’etich called for tough ‘patriotic’ measures to restore Kenya’s ability to attract investments where investors are facilitated to set up faster than it currently from the acquisition of licences and approvals to transfer of land, connection to electricity, water and sewer lines.

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“Corruption has led to a loss of incentive structure in Kenya where regulatory agencies and other state departments deter investors from launching their operations in Kenya by demanding bribes. They now prefer to invest in the all-time 45-degree hot Dubai than Nairobi with God-given 19-degree weather,” he said.

ACFE chief executive Jane Mugo said Kenya needs to enhance its capacity to investigate graft and fraud to push up the number of convictions for cases submitted to the courts.

“Police officers are mandated by law to investigate and prefer criminal charges against suspects but lack the requisite knowledge to detect fraud and seal evidence-loopholes that have seen many go scot-free,” she said.

OCS Group chief executive Collins Ojiambo said poor control mechanisms were to blame for graft and asset misuse mostly by older employees who perpetrate bad company culture.

The event was part of weeklong campaigns to encourage business leaders and employees to proactively take steps that minimise fraud.

Dr Kipng’etich said Kenya must move fast to review its education system and inculcate a culture of hard work where a reward is merit-based.

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