Inside Politics

Kebs launches new standard to enhance fight against graft

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 08:18 |
ISO President Eddy Njoroge speaks during this year’s World Standard’s Day celebrations in Nairobi yesterday. The event held under the theme ‘Video standards create a global stage’ was organised by Kenya Bureau of Standards. PD/alice mburu

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has developed a standard which will provide guidance for establishing anti-bribery management system in organisations.

Global organisations such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank among many, currently require this standard as part of its tendering processes, since it specifies a series of measures organisations can implement to detect and address bribery.

The Standard specifies requirements and provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving an anti-bribery management system. It can be a stand alone or can be integrated into an overall management system of organisations.

Kebs Head of Standards Development and Trade department, Samson Ombok said the ISO37001:2016 standard developed in 2018, is currently being internalised. This, he added, would be followed by training for heads of departments, integrity officers and champions of anti-bribery within public, private and not-for-profit organisations.

“The process of creating awareness especially to our stakeholders is going on, after which institutions can then seek certification,” said Ombok, who spoke to the Business Hub on the sidelines of a workshop to celebrate the World Standards Day, commemorated annually on October 14. This year’s theme is “Video standards create a global stage.’’ Two training sessions have been scheduled. The first will be held in Mombasa between November 19 and 22, while the second is set for May 26 and 29, next year.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) President, Eddie Njoroge decried the fact that organisations were seeking ISO certification standards to “tick the box.”

Spirit and culture

“We want people to be trained, and to ensure the spirit and culture of the certification is embraced in these organisations,” he said.

Mark Bichache, an analyst who comments on Government Policy, said the new tool has added a new dimension – behavioural change - in the war against corruption.

“The war against corruption is an actual war. To win, we must wage battles against it at every level. Behavioural change is critical and this is one such tool. Kebs must be encouraged to do it,” he added.

Ombok said the training sessions are user-driven, and not mandatory, a fact Bichache disagreed with, instead advocating for all government institutions to be certified with ISO37001:2016 standard.

Bichache, who spoke to the Business Hub on phone, said Kebs must, however, ensure the ISO37001:2016 Standard “is actually respected and applied, as well as ensuring each certified institution is actually corruption free.”

ISO certifications build credibility for organisations internationally to build overseas business. The standards also enable institutions to serve their customers better and hence increase customer satisfaction. The new anti-bribery Standard comes at a time when the government has stepped up efforts to stamp out corruption in its institutions, seal loopholes that lead to tax evasion.

Tax evasion

In August, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) disclosed that it will prosecute 600 individuals this year for tax evasion related cases. The measures are part of KRA’s plans to boost its revenue collection which it reported at Sh1.58 trillion against the National Treasury’s target of Sh1.8 trillion in the financial year 2018/19.

The taxman has already recovered Sh12.6 billion from 210 tax evasion cases won, while 222 suspects have been prosecuted at the law courts, leading to the recovery of taxes amounting to Sh12.9 billion.

KRA has also been participating in strategic operations as part of a multi-agency team against illicit trade and contrabands.

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