Standing as an observer, engagement in corrupt practices seems to be a norm of normality. Corruption is often spoken of at the higher levels, but we often disregard the simple act of giving a “token” of appreciation to a parking official for parking in a prohibited space for our own five minute convenience to run an errand.
In Kenya, corruption no longer remains the elephant in the room. With the objective to secure ethical business conduct within the private sector domain, the fight against corruption strengthens. Establishing and maintaining ethical standards of behaviour will therefore help reinforce the integrity of the Kenyan economy.
National intervention made by the Kenyan Government to overcome corrupt practices will see the introduction and tightening of regulations and laws designed to focus on the supply side of corruption, on those who give bribes or induce public officials.
Meeting the highest standards of probity is already desired within the private sector, however, so as to better protect themselves against reputational and financial loss whilst working towards achieving their commercial objectives, the private sector must be more vigilant to ensure the incorporation of ethical business behaviour.
Changing an ingrained culture of corruption will take time. With the private sector encouraging every person to exhibit values of integrity and the government implementing measures to penalise those who engage in corrupt practices, a path for transformation in business activity will be created.
Promoting anti-corruption training programmes and attaching a stigma of shame on those associated with corruption will go a long way in helping the private sector to ultimately succeed in the fight against corruption. Where there exists accessible technology platforms, to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, corruption will be more difficult to hide and sustain thus creating an ethical business culture with a transparent and accountable governance systems.
According to the PwC 18th Annual Global CEO Survey 2014, to thwart corruption, corporations must identify the types of corrupt practices most relevant to their business processes to mitigate risks and be vigilant in practicing strategic threat management. Aligning compliance with anti-corrupt practices will enable every corporation to confront corruption and build an environment of trust.
Efforts by the private sector will give the fight against corruption considerable momentum, however some challenges may lie ahead. Where necessary professionals experienced in creating anti-corruption solutions and providing corporations with a better understanding of anti-corruption legislations and standard industry practice may be consulted to assist in leading corporations in the fight against corruption.
Recent efforts in the collaboration between private and public sectors also need to be maintained to keep the momentum in the fight against corruption. It is equally important for key institutions to play their part as emphasized by the President in his Jamuhuri day speech in December last year. As corruption is stimulated by greed, change of the mindset is essential in this fight. The simple act of paying an unofficial amount that is off the book may not be considered by the person paying as a corrupt practice, but in reality this act constitutes the criminal offence of bribery. Kerbing the mindset to refrain from such behaviours will eventually contribute to creating a more ethical business environment.
By Zoya Rahemtulla –PwC Kenya Business Recovery Services (BRS) practice