The Cabinet has adopted a proposed law that seeks to punish both givers and receivers of bribes, including local or foreign businesses. According to the Bribery Bill 2016, an individual found guilty of any form of bribery or attempted bribery will be liable to imprisonment for a term of between one and 10 years or a fine not exceeding their statutory maximum, or both.
The bill also proposes the seizure of property of individuals or companies suspected to have been acquired through bribery. It seeks to make specific requirements for private entities to have in place procedures for prevention of bribery.
“The requirement for private sector entities to adopt anti-bribery measures is informed by the fact that the private sector acts as the supply side of corruption in the public sector, hence the need to stop bribery at the source,” a Cabinet brief said.
The bill was adopted on Tuesday evening during a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. Last November, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance presented the proposed bill to the President as part of recommendations on fighting graft.
Uhuru said the proposed law is important as the private sector is the supplier of goods and services to government entities. The bill also calls for the barring of companies that give or receive bribes from participating in any government tendering or procurement.
The bill proposes that any Kenyan citizen or commercial organisation that offers or receives a bribe in places outside Kenya will be liable to prosecution locally. The bill, which has been developed by the private sector, also requires companies to put in place measures for prevention of bribery.
“A commercial organisation is required to have in place procedures appropriate to its size and scale and to the nature of its operations, for prevention of bribery,” clause seven says.
The Cabinet also approved the Witness Protection (Amendment) Bill 2016, whose purpose is to align the provisions of the bill with the constitution and other legislation.
The bill proposes amendments to the principle Act to make provision of security and incentives to whistleblowers, especially on corruption cases.
A task force on corruption told the President last year that while Kenya has done commendably well in witness protection, it lagged behind many other countries in enacting legislation or adopting a policy framework for protection of those who blow the whistle on corruption and other crimes.