Kenya ‘leads’ her East African neighbors in economic crime, the 2018 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey reveals

In the last 24 months, Kenya’s rate of economic crime stood at three-quarters of the survey’s respondents against a global economic crime rate of 50 percent. Compared to her East African neighbors Kenya takes the reigns, on the other hand, Rwanda has the lowest rates of economic crimes at less than half of the survey’s respondents.

Types of fraud cases

Asset misappropriation (the leader of the pack in all East African countries except Uganda), fraud committed by the consumer, bribery and corruption, were the most prevalent forms of economic crime in East Africa. Zambia leads the region in two of the three crimes the survey identified-asset misappropriation, bribery and corruption.

At slightly a higher level than its East African counterparts, the types of economic crimes in Kenya mirror the rest of the region except for procurement fraud. As the per a 2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, one in three companies reports experiencing procurement fraud in the past two years.

The media has been full of stories of million shilling wheelbarrows (each at 109,320 courtesy of Bungoma County), pencils and gates (Nyamira County spent sh7.6 million for a gate to an underequipped hospital gate); the so-called ‘tenderpreneurship’ has sadly become a to-die-for profession.

Heavy costs

In the last 24 months alone, about a twentieth of the survey’s respondents in Kenya report losing between sh1 million and sh10 million to these economic crimes. Crime is expensive and prevalent but the most curious exception is that of Rwanda, recording a corruption and bribery rate of 21 percent below the average East African rate.

This figure does not necessarily mean Rwanda experiences less bribery and corruption than its East African counterparts, the report poses a question worth pondering, “is it possible that Rwandan organizations detect or disclose this form of economic crimes with far less likelihood than their counterparts in the rest of East Africa.”

Corruption and bribery is a heavy burden to businesses, the survey found that a third of the respondents in Kenya had lost an opportunity to a competitor they believed had paid a bribe, a problem that goes beyond borders and sectors and thus should be addressed collectively.

The higher incidence in Kenya puts us in danger of negative perception about our integrity and thus, potentially puts us at disadvantage competitively in terms of attracting quality labor, business and investors.

It is because of such dangers that the Deputy CEO of the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) Michael Mubea, encouraged Kenyans to report any corruption crimes and help fight it, assuring those present at the unveiling of the Economic Crime Report, that the EACC had put in place channels to receive information without exposing the senders’ identity.


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