KEPSA Foundation co-hosted the Africa Business Ethics Conference at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on 25th– 26th June 2019, whose theme was ‘Best practices for better business: The role of the private sector in promoting transparency and accountability’.
The two-day conference came in the wake of a Corruption Risk Mapping (CRM) and Anti-Bribery Compliance Assessment conducted in November 2018 in the Private Sector by KEPSA and CIPE that mapped out 1200 private businesses.
Ms. Fatma Elmaawy, MD Milestones Resource Solutions in her opening remarks noted that although Africa continues to make strides in many spheres of economic development, its leap is constantly being curtailed by corruption. She added that corruption epitomizes weakness in our ethical standards and integrity. ‘To economies, it undermines development and public service delivery by diverting development resources,’ she concluded.
MD Broadcast Division, Standard Media Group, Mr. Joe Munene, speaking on the role of media in the fight against corruption stated that as the media they offer the platform, expose and hold those in public office to account. Adding to this, Mr. Lars Benson, CIPE Regional Director, Africa noted that we learn by doing and encouraged businesses to entrench ethics, virtues and morals in their mode of doing business.
KEPSA Foundation Chair, Arch. Lee Karuri, in his keynote address on building the private sector and citizen’s trust in government efforts to stem corruption and graft, noted that where corruption is high, poverty will also be high and high chances of compromised democracy. He went on to state that corruption results in poor service delivery since there is no sense of responsibility.
The Corruption Risk Mapping Report in Kenya’s private sector was later launched. As part of efforts to support the fight against corruption, KEPSA partnered with CIPE to conduct a study aimed at mapping the corruption risk areas in the private sector.
From the study, Fraud, bribery, tax evasion and embezzlement were most prevalent forms of corruption with procurement and supply, finance, and accounting, being the most vulnerable areas of business while Transport and Storage, Construction, and Real Estate sectors suffered the highest financial loses. Interestingly, 44% of businesses were not even aware of existence of the Bribery Act or the liability to comply with it. Even so, only 32% of those who were aware expressed understanding of the Act.
Overall, 54% of the surveyed respondents agreed to corruption incidences happening in their sectors but 73% had put in place prevention measures chiefly financial and commercial controls such as adequate bookkeeping, auditing, and approval of expenditure, which was viewed as the most effective measure to combat the vice. Other measures adopted included signing the Code of Ethics and Oral briefing to staff and partners to communicate the need to prevent corruption and bribery.
Business leader and entrepreneurs in the country have called for a more concerted effort in the war against corruption vowing to enhance their commitment in tackling the vice.
The forum supported by CIPE brought together representatives from different African Countries with Speakers from across the globe.