TI: Private sector fuelling graft

September 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – The private sector has been put on the spot for encouraging corruption in developing countries, Kenya included.

The ‘Global Corruption Report’ by Transparency International (TI) released on Wednesday estimated that over half of the monies meant for development in these countries ended up in people’s pockets through unscrupulous contracts by private sector players. The report accused the private sector of fueling corruption through highly priced contracts, giving bribery and kickbacks.

TI Kenya Executive Director Job Ogonda said that despite various legislations in Kenya, failure to fully implement them has encouraged the vice.

“Despite the existence of Public Procurement and Disposal Act corruption in public procurement remains the biggest drainer of resources in Kenya,” he said while releasing the report at a Nairobi hotel.

“Despite the existence of Public Officers Ethics Act the greatest beneficiaries remain the officers themselves.”

Mr Ogonda said that officers in the procurement departments were colluding with their relatives in the private sector to siphon funds from public coffers.
He however noted that, “the legislations have indeed at some level sanitized corruption within the business sector.”

The annual report focuses on specific theme areas within the public service and this year evaluated the role of the private sector in encouraging or discouraging the vice. The report reviewed a wide range of corrupt practices in the private sector, including bribery and undue influence, corporate fraud and cartels.

“Non competitive bidding and opaque processes lead to immense waste and unreliable goods or services,” the report stated.

World Bank Country Director Johannes Zutt who witnessed the launch of the report called on the private sector to collaborate with the government to ensure that good governance is enhanced. He regretted that more often corruption had been seen from one side where the government has been accused of perpetuating the vice.
“Corruption has two sides. On one side is the public official receiving a bribe or a kickback and on the other is a project agent giving it,” Mr Zutt said. “Sometimes you could even have corruption where no government official is involved.”

Mr Ogonda warned that Vision 2030 could be scuttled unless the government made more deliberate efforts to decisively deal with corruption.


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