Kenya’s private sector mulls creation of corruption referencing bureau

Kenya's private sector mulls creation of corruption referencing bureau
File image of Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Chief Executive Officer Habil Olaka . PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • The Corruption Referencing Bureau works in a similar way to the Credit Referencing Bureau (CRB) which serves as a store to firms' and individuals credit worthiness.
  • The bureau will serve to protect individuals and other entities from being implicated unknowingly in grand corruption scandals.
  • The bureau is part of a larger scheme to embolden the private sector role in battling corruption.

Players drawn from Kenya’s private sector are pondering the creation of a corruption referencing bureau in the course of the next five years, in an effort to curb runaway graft among the non-state actors.

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Chief Executive Officer Habil Olaka on Thursday said the referencing bureau will work in a similar manner to the existing Credit Referencing Bureau (CRB) which stores information on individual’s credit worthiness.

“Referencing has worked well for credit providers by availing individuals and entities credit profile. Similarly, we can create a corruption referencing bureau where all information on corruption is centered, referencing it back to entities. From here, one is then able to make a decision on whether to (or not) undertake transactions with entities based on their extracted corruption profiles,” said Mr. Olaka

He was speaking on the sidelines of the private sector’s presentation of its anti-corruption strategy at this year’s national anti-corruption conference.

Such a bureau will serve to prevent firms and individuals from being implicated unknowingly in corruption undertakings. The creation of the bureau will likewise be beneficial to deposit holding entities who have recently found themselves in hot-soup for harboring proceeds from graft.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), for instance, fined five banks including Standard Chartered, Equity, KCB, Co-operative Bank and Diamond Trust Bank, a total of Ksh.401.5 million in September 2018 for handling billions from the infamous National Youth Service scandal.

The sector further expects the emboldening of the anti-money laundering regime to tighten the grip on corruption by including non-financial professionals such as lawyers, accountants and trustees in sniffing out instances of delinquency.

“For the system to be effective, we need to get all the professions and businesses captured within the designated non-financial profession be obligated to report to the financial reporting center,” Mr. Olaka added.

Other private sector led initiatives to further the war on graft in the medium term include, the push for the enactment of the Whistle-blower Bill which serves to protect individuals and firms who expose instances of graft from persecution and the establishment of a public registry showing the beneficial ownership of companies.

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