Anti-Corruption Efforts will Require some “Visible Prosecutions”
President Obama opined that it was “absolutely the right thing to do for President Kenyatta [to] emphasize” the Kenyan government’s stepped-up anti-corruption efforts. He called public corruption potentially “the biggest impediment to Kenya growing even faster.”
“Just a math issue”
Business efforts being “constantly sapped” was a real risk to foreign direct investment, as Obama pointed out: “International businesses are concerned if the price of investing in Kenya is 5-10% going to some place that doesn’t have anything to do with the project. It’s just a math issue.”
Acknowledging that corruption is not only an African problem (noting that even the U.S. and his hometown of Chicago had faced significant public fraud & bribery problems), the President highlighted what AAF has often stated: anti-corruption efforts imply serious cultural changes and necessary at both the top as well as the grassroots levels. They will “require some change in habits,” and most notably “require some visible prosecutions,” according to Obama.
It is not hard to predict that President Kenyatta’s cabinet will see more shake-ups as a result of the promised stepped-up anti-corruption efforts.
As we noted in “Increased anti-corruption enforcement across Africa?“:
“You will read about record-breaking fines imposed; and you will hear about ever-longer jail sentences for violators. African nations are no different in this regard than the U.S., where the DOJ has an annual tradition, almost invariably touting record-setting numbers resulting from its various enforcement divisions. Even a quarter billion dollars of cumulative fines in South Africa are insufficient evidence of true deterrence, however — what is needed going forward is a culture of anti-corruption compliance, which goes deeper and spreads its roots more widely throughout the business & governmental community than any single record fine or jail sentence can ever accomplish,” says Andreas Stargard, an attorney with Primerio, an Africa-focused law firm and boutique business consultancy, advising on anti-corruption and competition & regulatory matters across the continent.