President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned private sector entities engaging in corruption that their days are numbered. The President said there was no turning back on the anti-graft drive.
He said corruption was not a ‘one-way street’ and where there is a corrupt public official there must be a corrupt private sector member. “Corruption is a two-way street. I have given directives to the Attorney General to amend our laws so that those who pay bribes are also targeted, prosecuted and jailed. The law should reflect that the giver is as guilty as the taker,” he said.
The President said companies that are proven to have given a bribe will be blacklisted and will never participate in Government tendering processes. President Kenyatta said the amendment will also include provisions that will allow the prosecutor to freeze the account of corruption suspects so that the corrupt do not use their ill-gotten wealth to obstruct justice.
“If found guilty, a suspect’s assets will be seized to recover what was stolen from the public,” President Kenyatta said. The President spoke at State House during the 4th Presidential Roundtable that brings together the Executive and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) held on Thursday.
The Head of State said besides the ‘reality of corruption’, there was the ‘perception of justice’ and there were companies that engage in practices that create perceptions of corruption to defeat genuine competition. Such companies include those who use courts to sabotage tendering processes where they have lost through a fair process.
“If you lodge a case in court and it is proved that you filed the case just to sabotage your competitor, you will be blacklisted and you will never participate in any tendering process in Kenya,” said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto said the Jubilee administration was ready to pay any price to rid the Government of corruption. “Every public official must account and measure up to the integrity test. Either you work as a public servant or you go and do private
things,” he said.
The Deputy President emphasised that there will be no half-measures in the fight against corruption and the private sector should also measure up to the integrity test. The President and the DP spoke at the end of the Kepsa Presidential Roundtable meeting whose aim is to improve Kenya’s business environment.
The chairman of Kepsa, Mr Vimal Shah, said the association supports the Government’s anticorruption drive and was ready to play its role in making Kenya corruption free. “Investors love destinations that are corruption-free because they are assured that their money will compete in a fair environment,” he said.
On the agenda of the Presidential Roundtable were issues ranging from taxation on raw materials to how the private sector was benefitting from bilateral agreements Kenya has entered into since President Kenyatta came into office.
The private sector, which is now pleased with the reduced cost of power, was challenged to lower the price of the products since the cost of production has gone down. The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretaries and senior government officials.