By BRIAN NGUGI

Chinese and Israeli companies are among international contractors who regularly bribe Kenyan officials to win lucrative multi-billion shilling public infrastructure contracts, a new report by global corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) says.

TI says bribery of Kenyan officials has over the years continued unabated, partly because foreign governments are not enforcing the existing anti-bribery laws.

“While China has criminalised the bribery of foreign public officials, in line with obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption, there has been no known enforcement against foreign corrupt practices by its companies, citizens and or residents,” the TI says in the report, which seeks to assess progress of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) anti-bribery convention.

TI says Chinese bribery of foreign officials has continued despite the fact that its companies and individuals have been the subject of publicly reported investigations and charges in numerous countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, the United States and Zambia.

Samuel Kimeu, the TI Kenya executive director, said failure to act on reported corruption cases has become a matter of great concern given the high cost of irregularly awarded contracts. “Runaway graft in public contracting is robbing taxpayers of value for money in publicly funded projects because they mostly result in poor workmanship.

“This inaction has anchored corruption as the main driver of contracting systems in Kenya,” Mr Kimeu said, adding that many of the local contracts are being awarded to proxies who then transfer them to foreign companies at a fee resulting in exaggerated costing.

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