On 23 December 2016 Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta gave his assent to the Bribery Act 2016 (the “Act”) for the prevention, investigation and punishment of bribery in Kenya. The Act came into force on 13 January 2017 and is modelled on the UK Bribery Act. It has put in place methods to prevent bribery, with strict punishments for those failing to comply, including heavy fines based on a multiple of the benefit and/or loss (as relevant) and potential custodial punishment for individuals. The Act provides a more robust system for preventing bribery, including obligations on individuals holding positions of authority in Kenyan companies or companies operating in Kenya to report instances of bribery and obligations on companies to put in place bribery prevention policies and measures.

The passing of the Act is a further demonstration of Kenya’s forward-thinking stance on corruption and its desire to open up the region to foreign investment. By aligning its approach to anti-bribery and corruption with that used by most global organisations (where compliance with the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is seen as standard), it is signalling that it intends to leave behind conceptions of corrupt practices in Kenya.