NAIROBI: Kenya is the third most corrupt country in the world. This is according to a survey on prevalence of economic crimes released in Nairobi yesterday by audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
According to the survey, Kenya only fared better than South Africa and France. The findings come a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenyans were experts in stealing, whining and perpetuating tribalism. The President said this while addressing Kenyans who live in Israel.
Similar views were expressed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga during a newspaper interview weeks before. The Chief Justice told Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that Kenya had become a bandit economy where corruption pervaded all levels of society.
The audit firm found that Kenya beat the rest of the world in economic crimes such as embezzlement, bribery and procurement fraud.
More worrying from the survey is the declining confidence in the ability of law enforcers to deal with these crimes.
"A worrying trend in the survey is the low levels of confidence in local law enforcement's ability to investigate and prosecute economic crimes," said PwC's Forensics Leader in Eastern Africa Muniu Thoithi.
The report comes amid growing public anger over the wanton theft of public resources following revelations over the loss of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service (NYS).
Before the NYS saga that has sucked in top government officials, the jury is still out on how the government spent the Sh250 billion it raised from the Eurobond.
Investigations have also been revived on the alleged role of Kenyan electoral officials in bribery by officials of a UK security printing firm to win printing contracts for 2013 General Election materials.
The crimes stray into other spheres. In the private sector, a clique of top managers of Imperial Bank are in court for allegedly stealing more than Sh34 billion from bank deposits.
In most cases of economic crimes, the perpetrators were mainly insiders, a fact that has now been confirmed by PwC's findings.
"Most economic crimes continue to be committed by internal fraudsters who were responsible for 70 per cent of the cases reported by Kenyan organisations," Mr Thoithi reported.
And last month, the CJ laid bare his frustrations in the fight against corruption in the Judiciary, saying the country was being run by criminal cartels working with politicians.
"As long as I fight the cartels and they are protected, you cannot achieve anything. You are taking these people into a corrupt investigating system, through a corrupt anti-corruption system, and a corrupt Judiciary," Dr Mutunga said.
On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed a tribunal to investigate bribery claims against Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi. The judge is alleged to have received Sh200 million to influence the outcome of an election petition.
Embezzlement was the most predominant economic crime in Kenya, the survey noted.
Three out of four of the respondents in the PwC survey had encountered a case of embezzlement — an indication of the level of theft by employees or State officials. Weak systems predispose Kenya's public resources to pilferage by government officials, as reported in the latest report of the Auditor General.