On the 12th of July, KEPSA celebrated the annual Africa Anti-Corruption Day by hosting a virtual forum in partnership with The Blue Company Project, Transparency International Kenya and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). The webinar sought to endorse the implementation of the African Union Convention on preventing and combating corruption (AUCPCC).
The webinar, which was attended by representatives from both private and public sectors, was moderated by Ms. Martha Cheruto – KEPSA Deputy CEO and hosted by Dr. Julius Kipng’etich – Advisory Board Member, The Blue Company Project, Mr. Phillip Kagucia – Assistance Director & Head of Communications, EACC, Ms. Sheila Masinde – Executive Director, Transparency International Kenya and Eng. Patrick Obath – Chair, KEPSA Foundation.
Attendees were made aware of the immediate need to combat corruption in Kenya not only for the improvement of our Country’s economy but also so investors can realize the benefits of enterprise in Kenya. This can be easily achieved with an improved Corruption Perception Index from the Transparency International survey on corruption. Ms. Masinde took the opportunity to advocate for the need to update whistleblower policies. “We have been quite committed in terms of trying to push for certain legislations that will enable us to achieve the commitments that we have made within the agency,” She noted. “When you look at the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), it’s also one of the legislative measures that have been proposed for African countries because access to information is very relevant in the fight against corruption. Kenyans will not be able to fight corruption where they lack information,” She shared.
The EACC also serves a great role in gathering information on corruption in both the public and private sectors from a variety of sources. Mr. Phillip Kagucia, who serves as the Head of Communications at the EACC, insisted that access to information is really about transparency within companies, their employees and the public. Transparency and accountability, he said, are two sides of the same coin and the AUCPCC recognizes the importance of the role civil society plays.
Mr. Kagucia went on to say that institutions like EACC which are public sector institutions have not always enjoyed a great relationship with civil society. However, he was happy to report to EACC partners and participants that there was some level of change in the trend where the civil society and the public sector are beginning to work in tandem. “This is possible with EACC on the side of public sector and people like Transparency International on the side of civil society, working together to try and solve the transparency and accountability problem,” Mr. Kagucia emphasized.
The KEPSA Foundation Chair also expanded on the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was initially formed as an Anti-Corruption Forum. The forum allows KEPSA to work with other public and private organizations in creating common approaches to fighting corruption. “Some of the participants of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum include religious organizations, various NGO bodies and government agencies,” He noted. Eng. Obath also outlined that the forum is split into different sectors of society to enable KEPSA to have different ways of reaching out to society.
Dr. Kipng’etich concluded by sharing his disappointment with the corruption experienced in Kenya as it had killed both creativity and innovation. He noted that corruption had distorted resource allocation and effort from people where residents now mostly chased local tenders. “We have strengthened criminal prosecution and the judiciary with the new constitution and by increasing their budget four times over. Though the Blue Company approach is fairly new, we will still use the hard power of prosecution to reduce corruption,” Warned Dr. Kipng’etich.