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Kenya loses Sh69b annually to corruption

COUNTIES
By Ngumbao Kithi | October 10th 2014

NAIROBI: Financial experts have claimed the country loses Sh69 billion annually due to corruption.

The Institute of Certified Public Accounts of Kenya (ICPAK) said the funds could be used to employ 25,000 graduates every year.

ICPAK chairman Benson Okundi said corruption remained a serious issue at most levels of society as indicated by the Corruption Survey released by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) at the beginning of this month.

Corruption, he said, had raised the cost of living for every Kenyan by at least 15 per cent as the amount spent on bribes had to be passed on to consumers of goods and services.

Speaking in Kwale County, Mr Okundi said according to the report, the import and export sectors had the highest likelihood of corruption - 36 per cent - followed by procurement and tax collection at 13 per cent and licensing processes coming third at 11 per cent.

"The report also noted the major factors shaping corruption risks particularly in their interaction with the private sector include numerous documentation, slow pace of service delivery, poor understanding of procedures, high tax levies and transaction costs on businesses. Many companies are easily bullied into corruption to avoid hefty fines, levies and long procedures," he said.

Urging public responsibility, he said ICPAK shared the distress of all Kenyans concerning the tragic breakdowns that have contributed to a rise in graft cases.

He called for unprecedented change, saying the country was marked by willingness and commitment to respond to key market and economic events.

PUBLIC CONFIDENCE

Okundi called on accountants to maintain public confidence in their profession.

"The profession's self-regulatory framework is now about 35 years old and although it has been continually enhanced and improved by the profession since its inception, these statistics make it clear that our self-regulatory process must be further strengthened for the future," he said.

He said high quality performance by professional accountants benefited the economy and society.

Okundi said as accountants, they were ready to safeguard public interest. He added that accountants and the Government needed to work together to ensure that regulation was effective and efficient.

"Against this background, I urge employers to make it a requirement for all qualified accountants to register with ICPAK for the benefit of the employer, employee and the accounting profession in Kenya," he said.

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