The high cost of corrupt employees

About 450 people a month go to jail for employment offences

In Summary

• People often take things from the employer if they believe they can get away with it

An employee adds up the value of bank notes
An employee adds up the value of bank notes

People think of government whenever the word “corruption” is mentioned, but the private sector is equally affected by the vice, with businesses in Kenya collectively losing millions of shillings a year to crooked employees.

From the cashier who pockets part of the day’s sales proceeds, the driver who siphons his employer's fuel and the barmaid who brings her stock of alcohol to sell at the employer's establishment, corruption in Kenya has become a national pastime.

Some employees go to extraordinary lengths to line their pockets regardless of the cost to their employer. Take the case of a caretaker who interfered with an institution’s electricity supply, creating a power outage so the generator could run for hours. When the scam was uncovered, the institution had racked up Sh500,000 in fuel bills for the generator. Kickbacks from the fuel supplier to the caretaker amounted to less than Sh10,000. The man cost the institution half a million shillings for a 2 per cent kickback.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows an average of 5,369 people were convicted for employment offences annually between 2015 and 2018. That’s about 447 people a month going to jail for employment offences.

Prevention of fraud is about closing off the loopholes that tempt some employees to steal. Human nature is such that people will take things from the employer if there is no risk of getting caught. Business owners and managers should closely supervise employees and hold them to account for decisions made at work.

This story first appeared on the digital magazine Star Sasa, accessible on Sundays for Sh10 by dialling *550*3#