76pc of Kenyan firms ‘pay bribes to get business’

July 20, 2012
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In the study where 25 CEOs both private and public institutions in country were interviewed, Kenya leads in these cases, compared to Nigeria at 72 percent and South Africa at 64 percent/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Seventy-six percent of Kenyan companies have to engage in corrupt deals for them to win and retain business, according to a recent study by Ernest & Young audit company.

In the study where 25 CEOs both private and public institutions in country were interviewed, Kenya leads in these cases, compared to Nigeria at 72 percent and South Africa at 64 percent.

The highest form of bribe was entertainment at 32 percent which includes buying lunch or dinner, or complementary travel.

This was followed by giving personal gifts at 18 percent with 8 percent of the CEOs interviewed saying that they gave cash to get business.

“When you bring a receipt and say I took so and so for lunch, you can justify, but in the real sense the motive behind was not right, it was to win business. Because nowadays if you give cash outright, it easily becomes a big problem and of course when you give gifts, most of the companies nowadays have the policy that one must declare gifts given outside,” Ernest & Young’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services head Peter Kahi said.

Presenting the report, he added that 60 percent of the CEOs said they engaged in bribing to get business, due to the economic downturn.

The report also showed that the biggest challenge is that Kenya still lags behind in prosecuting those involved in corruption.

“Kenya did poorly on the issues of prosecuting corrupt activities with 56 percent of those interviewed felt nothing is done when someone has been caught with bribery allegations and 40 percent thought something is being done, but doesn’t go far,” Kahi said.
He added that most of the companies have policies to deal with corruption and fraud cases, but they are not followed keenly.

“Ninety-six percent thought that strengthening the regular internal audits would help deal with the small fraud or corruption cases especially by the company bosses,” Kahi added.

Sixty-four percent said they support the whistleblowers and that there should be a specific law from the government side to protect them.

“Most of them have very important information but they fear either being sacked, or even fear for their lives. But this number of supporters of the idea shows that we are in the right direction,” Kahi said.

In Africa, 67 percent of companies are engaged in bribery to get business and 39 percent globally.

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