War on corruption splits private sector

By: OTIATO GUGUYU

The new assault on graft by President Uhuru Kenyatta has created a rift between the private sector and the chamber of commerce chairman Kiprono Kittony who resigned from the Kenya Private Sector Alliance board.

Mr Kittony said the lobby had hijacked an industry initiative when it presented the Anti-Bribery Bill to President Kenyatta on Monday.

He said the alliance, with about 200 corporates and 90 business membership organisations, does not represent private business in the country and abroad.

“As far as we are concerned, we (Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry) are the umbrella body for the private sector, we represent the business community from the ground and Kepsa has not been an inclusive organisation, it is elitist,” he told the Nation at the sidelines of the Kenya-China import and export e-commerce platform launch.

Kepsa, however, said it was not aware of any association that had withdrawn its membership, stating that the matter will be addressed at board level.

This comes at a time when the government is rallying the private sector help fight graft.

Only 200 local companies are eligible to do business with the government after President Kenyatta decreed that State departments deal with firms that have signed a code of ethics.

CODE OF CONDUCT

According to Kepsa, the companies have signed a code of conduct developed by the private sector.

The code, which was crated under the model of the United Nations Global Compact is coordinated under the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

Kepsa said firms should go to the association and apply for the code at no cost in a bid to coordinate how it will be administered.

Mr Kittony, who sat at the board under Economic Diplomacy and Media, said the business community would want universal conformity in the code.

President Kenyatta announced that the Cabinet secretary for Finance and Treasury would issue regulations under the Public Procurement and Oversight Authority to give the directive legal backing.

TAME CORRUPTION

Th ePublic Procurement and Oversight Authority will spell out which codes of ethics are acceptable and approve them. It will also ensure enforcement and monitoring.

“Some international companies have already signed with their parent countries indicating they will not engage in corrupt practices. The British have one and also the Americans, I think they will also be recognised,” Kepsa communications officer Henry Githaiga told the Nation.

The move by the President is intended to tame corruption between private sector and government, which accounts for 70 per cent of sleaze involving procurement.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION