Article – Dramatic Kenyan bribery law underscores the new reality: Washington and London have no monopoly on talking tough
22 Mar 2017

Many compliance professionals have traditionally used the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (USA) and the Bribery Act 2010 (UK) as their lodestar for designing anti-bribery systems and responses. If something was good enough to comply with US or UK law, they thought, it would probably be fine everywhere else. Kenya’s new Bribery Act, which pairs onerous obligations with severe penalties, may mark the start of a new era in which developing countries pass and enforce anti-bribery laws that are far more stringent than those in “traditional” compliance jurisdictions.

Public concern about bribery is on the rise in Kenya. In April 2016, a residential building in Nairobi collapsed, killing a number of occupants. Immediately, ordinary Kenyans and politicians alike blamed corrupt local government officials for allowing the unsafe building to continue to be occupied. With a general election scheduled for August 2017, the President and government are keen to send a message about bribery.

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