2016: The Year of Unethical Scandals.

January came to a close with a thump as allegations of large scale bribery brought against the Nairobi governor, Dr. Evans Kidero were brought to light.

For those of us who have successfully avoided televisions and newspapers for the first part of 2016, the story goes that Dr. Kidero allegedly presented Supreme Court Judge Justice Phillip Tonui with a bribe to rule in Kidero’s favor during in an election petition. The alleged bribe? $2 million.

This alleged bribe, which has been denied vehemently by Dr. Kidero, comes to upwards of KES.200 million. Please count the zeros on your own time; as February 2016 dawns, we have much more to discuss.

Take for example the recent revelation that more than 800 doctors across the country risk losing their medical practicing licenses due to an ugly lapse of ethics.

According to Health PS Nicholas Muraguri, the Ministry of Health received intelligence showing that doctors were choosing to refer patients overseas for procedures that could be handled locally.

In return, the doctors would gain kickbacks for intentionally directing unsuspecting patients to similarly unscrupulous parties abroad.

Not only is this a breach of the Hippocratic oath, and an extra financial burden on the unwell, it is also a criminal offense.

As the practice spans both the private and public sector, we can only hope the Ministry of Health chooses to name and shame these fraudsters, for the sake of the Kenyan public.

Stepping away from blatant fraud, the oil industry in Kenya has been rocked by the kind of scandal we hope not to see often.

National Oil Corporation of Kenya managing director, Sumayya Hassan-Athmani, has been placed on compulsory leave.

While there have been no accustaions levelled against Athmani, the picture painted so far is dire.

The board made the decision after a loss of a whopping KES.270 million was reported for the half year of this financial year.

A forensic audit, which had been requested in 2015 but failed to take off under suspicious circumstances, is to be carried out in Athmani’s absence and the fate of the MD discussed afterward.

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Photo credit: rdaconnect/Pixabay

Of course the most stunning case of ethical lapse has come to us from the Uchumi chain of supermarkets, which have long been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Current CEO Julius Kipng’etich announced that former CEO Jonathan Ciano, long hailed as the picture of good Kenyan capitalists, was in fact the biggest supplier of groceries and fresh produce to Uchumi supermarkets during his tenure.

To add insult to injury, Kipng’etich revealed that Ciano made a point of paying himself first, and in advance.

It was also revealed that Ciano was in good company as other managers of the chain were said to “divert” Uchumi stock to their own personal retail outlets.

As Kipng’etich told Kenyan news outlet “The Star”, supplier debt had been reported at KES.750 million, but he places it closer to KES.2.2 billion.

Yikes! For a CEO that just took up the post, Kipng’etich is up against daunting odds in his quest to turn Uchumi’s financial situation around, and we wish him the best of luck.

Well, we started on a bombastic figure of KES.200 million in alleged bribes, and now we end on the impossible sum of a company KES.2.2 billion in the hole, all with a common theme of playing loose with the acceptable business and governance ethics.

If we neglected to mention that the Auditor-General has cited that more than 75% of our governors are accused of procuring less than competitive tenders under questionable circumstances, it is because we care about you, dear reader, and our last wish would be to see you depressed by the frankly shameless displays of corruption in our beloved Kenya.

Here’s to a morally upright February, everyone, and an ethical weeks of months ahead.

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