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Firms unite in push to fight corporate graft

BUSINESS
By Graham Kajilwa | October 28th 2021

The Blue Company Project board members and other partners make a toast during the launch of the initiative in Nairobi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Private companies have unveiled a drive to fight corruption.

The Blue Company Project, a brainchild of the Jubilee Holdings Chairman Nizar Juma, commits member companies in the country and the region to shun corruption.

Once a company joins this initiative, it will be awarded with a blue badge and bound to several requirements, including the declaration of donations, gifts or favours by the managing director or chief executive.

The requirement extends to employees who will be deemed to have engaged in gross misconduct if they are found to have been involved in corrupt practices.

For instance, unbranded gifts to company bosses or employees should not exceed an agreed amount of Sh3,330 ($30). Anything exceeding this amount is not acceptable or should be authorised by the CEO.

Speaking at the launch in Nairobi yesterday, Juma said the initiative will also rope in companies in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

“We are not affiliated to any political groups or party. We are just a few private sector people who got together to start this initiative,” he said.

Juma noted that the private sector is the biggest culprit in perpetuating corruption. “If we stop giving, supply stops, and corruption will stop,” he said.

Juma said today’s generation thinks it is okay to be corrupt, as they grew up seeing their parents earn money quickly through corrupt ways.

“We want to make being corruption-free fashionable,” said Juma.  

He said because of the prevalence of graft, international businesses shun local firms, adding that many companies are reluctant to join the initiative because of the additional scrutiny on their dealings.

Jubilee Holdings Chief Executive Julius Kipng’etich said the fight against corruption has a positive impact on the growth of the economy.

He noted that Kenya’s greatest growth was witnessed between 2003 and 2006 at the height of the fight against corruption by the retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

“And every time there is an attempt (to address corruption in Kenya), economic growth just jumps,” said Dr Kipng’etich.

He cited corruption as one of the reasons for Kenya’s dismal economic growth despite having been at par with Singapore in 1963.

“But today, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world of $68,000,” said Kipng’etich.

“The critical difference is they emphasised the issue of good governance. The core of good governance is not being corrupt,” he added.

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