International Anti-Corruption Day – 9th December

According to United Nations, a staggering US$1 trillion are paid in bribes every year while more than two times that — US$2.6 trillion — is stolen annually through corruption. This is equivalent to more than five per cent of the global GDP. In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

On 31 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4).

The Assembly also designated 9th December as the International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. In Kenya, the government has been keen to enact laws that support the fight against corruption in both the public and private sectors. One of these laws is the Bribery Act 2016, whose principal objective is to criminalise the act of giving or receiving a bribe in the private sector. The Act, which came into force on 13th January, 2017, has far reaching implications on Kenyan businesses as well as foreign organisations doing business in Kenya.

It provides for specific requirements that private entities must have in place in the prevention of bribery. The Act also provides for an effective co-ordination and accountability framework in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of acts of bribery.

Further, it creates a legal obligation (statutory duty to act) on a person holding authority in a private entity who becomes aware of an act of bribery to report the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission within 24 hours. In this regard, a private entity means a person, company or organisation that is not affiliated to the government such as companies incorporated in Kenya which conduct business in or outside country, foreign companies which carry on business wholly or partly in Kenya, partnerships or charities which have a connection with Kenya.

This year’s commemoration theme of the International Anti-Corruption Day is, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption, a Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”. It was adopted by the African Union (AU) during its 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government in January 2018 when the continent’s leaders launched 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year. That Assembly was held under the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

Under the leadership of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC), the continental body, its organs, member states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), civil society organizations together with citizens (women, men and young people alike) will embark on a journey to address the urgent need to curb corruption, which is a major societal flaw causing setbacks in the socio-economic and political development of the continent. Corruption continues to hamper efforts aimed at promoting democratic governance, socio-economic transformation, peace and security, and the enjoyment of human rights in the AU member states The theme envisages a more vibrant Africa with stronger and sustainable development.

Here in Kenya, the commemoration is coordinated by the Kenya Leadership and Integrity Forum through its secretariat. It brings together stakeholders, international partners and members of the public in order to raise public awareness of the evils of corruption and to foster public support in the fight against graft. It also recognizes the efforts and achievements made in the fight against graft.

The objectives of the commemoration are:

  1. To raise public awareness of issues of corruption, ethics and integrity and enlist their support in the fight against graft.
  2. To unite efforts of governments, business community, civil society and other sectors in the fight against graft.
  3. To amplify anti-corruption messages in all spheres of the country and encourage the public to demand corruption free service.
  4. To empower the general public to play an oversight role and report corruption.
  5. To inform the general public about the evils of corruption.
  6. To share the achievements challenges and way forward in the fight against corruption.

This year’s commemoration events will be held in Meru, Bomet and Vihiga counties from 3rd to 9th December. We call on all members of the public to participate in large numbers in the planned outreach activities.

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