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Tighten your controls, Kenyan firms told

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – The private sector has been challenged to strengthen its management and internal controls to reduce the opportunity for corruption to thrive.

Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) Deputy Director of Finance and Administration Wilson Shollei said on Wednesday that implementing innovative and automated systems would help seal the gaps created by weak structures which encourage the vice in these organisations

“Sometimes, corruption can be said to be a failure of management. So if the management erected proper barriers it means that corruption would not have an opportunity to grow. Therefore we are encouraging all companies to adopt best practices because when there’s efficiency, corruption will not have a chance,” he said.

He advised firms to always ensure accountability and transparency in their operations by for example having full disclosure.

“We also need to start apply social sanctions where if you know that an employee from another industry is corrupt, do not employ him or if you employ him, vet him and change his behavior,” he proposed.

Mr Shollei added that employing such measures which would reduce corruption had the ability to improve the operating environment making them competitive.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance Chairman (KEPSA) Eng Patrick Obath concurred adding that the war on corruption is long term and can only be won if everybody makes a commitment to stops abating the vice.

“We’ve been saying that it’s only the public sector that is corrupt but it takes two to tango. The private sector must stop paying out to corruption and again as a leader in a firm can stand up and say ‘I’m ethically correct’, then the whole organisation follows suit,” Mr Obath said.

Corruption is deeply entrenched in the Kenyan culture and is estimated to cost the country up to four percent of annual sales values and up to 12 percent where public procurement is involved. Kenya is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world and third in Africa according to a survey by Transparency International last year.

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KACC estimates that there could be close to a million incidences of corruption annually which far overshadows the 30,000 cases that have been reported in the last five years.

This phenomenon has been blamed on the lack of appreciation of the magnitude of the problem which results in underreporting of such incidences.

The Commission however asserts that efforts it has put in place to curb the vice have begun bearing fruit as evident by the recent sacking of several government officials such as Permanent Secretaries who are believed to have been involved in corrupt dealings.

There have been calls to politicians especially to stop politicising and ethicising efforts to fight graft if any significant progress is to be made.

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