Corruption in Kenya – let’s be thankful for EU procurement rules!

It has been revealed that City Hall employees in Nairobi, Kenya have been colluding with suppliers to inflate the prices of various items, and then pocketing the excess money received.

The Standard Digital News in Nairobi reported that the Procurement and Treasury Departments of the Nairobi County government are losing millions of shillings due to paying suppliers much more than they should. Documents have shown that inflated prices to suppliers have been authorised by procurement officers, presumably in return for kick-backs.

"The trader was paid for supplying 500 pieces of 100 watts HPS lamps. Our investigations established that each lamp was initially supposed to cost Sh1500 but the County Government paid Sh6,800 for each lamp.

This means the supplier pocketed Sh2.65 million above what government would have paid had the Procurement and Treasury Departments stuck to the initial cost".

Another scam was discovered where an advertising company was supposed to pay money to media buying agencies but apparently didn't.

There's also been talk of a secretary a secretary working in the office of a structural engineer at City who makes the lives of suppliers extremely difficult, refusing to pay them without a minimum bribe of  Sh10,000.

Now the Chief Finance Officer who signed most of the payments and eight senior officers in the City Treasurer and Procurement have been indefinitely suspended to allow investigation into the scandal.

Why are we telling you this? It's not so we can feel superior to countries that have a huge problem with public sector procurement corruption - and Kenya isn't the only one.  Rather, it is to point out that although we may not always like EU or national government  procurement rules and processes, they do generally make sure we don’t have problems like this.  We may find regulations and rules put in place  somewhat tiresome, but when you see cases like this, where the system is flawed and corrupt due to the lack of such rules, it makes you remember why we have them.


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