Highlights of Kenya’s anti-bribery legislation

A banner headline touching on a mega corruption scandal is an all too familiar feature in Kenyan newspapers. Similarly, irregularities in the conduct and award of public tenders are commonplace in the country, so much so that the sarcastic jibe, “lipa kama tender” (which translates to pay like a tender) is often directed at Government. The corruption vice has an obvious adverse impact on the economy and is an impediment to business where there is an unspoken rule that “facilitation” payments and other inducements are necessary in order to obtain certain services or business opportunities. Sadly, the country ranked 145 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.

There is really no shortage of legislation meant to tackle corruption in Kenya, as Parliament has enacted the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2011, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2011 and more recently, the Bribery Act, 2016 (the Act). The Act came into operation on 13th January 2017 and its purpose is to govern the prevention, investigation and punishment of bribery.