Huge embarrassment as Bob Collymore is barred from major international summit following corruption scandal at Safaricom
In what is being seen as a highly embarrassing twist to in Kenya’s corporate circles, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has been barred from travelling to United Kingdom to attend a major anti-corruption summit that is being hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron following the leaking of a forensic audit report by global audit firm KPMG.
Leaked documents reveal a web of corruption in high value contracts at Safaricom which raise serious integrity questions on several senior Safaricom executives led by its CEO Bobby Collymore who was due to be in UK attending the anti-corruption summit as a representative of Vodafone PLC which owns Safaricom.
The Safaricom CEO was forced to call an unprecedented press conference in Nairobi last weekend to deny allegations contained in the leaked forensic investigation report even as his UK bosses barred him from travelling to the international conference.
The UK government is hosting an historic Anti-Corruption Summit between 12-13th May 2016 which comes just weeks after the Panama Papers thrust offshore secrecy and corruption into the international spotlight, and represents an historic opportunity to tackle crime, poverty and instability at the source.
The summit will seek to galvanise a global response to tackle corruption. As well as agreeing a package of actions to tackle corruption across the board, it will deal with issues including corporate secrecy, government transparency, the enforcement of international anti-corruption laws, and the strengthening of international institutions.
It will be the first summit of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to:
• expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide
• punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption
• drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists
The summit will be preceded by a conference on 11 May for leaders in civil society, business and government who are championing the fight against corruption.
According to the official program, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who had been listed as one of the speakers at the event, has been removed and replaced by Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.
This comes in the wake of damming allegations of widespread corruption at Safaricom and a public petition that was presented to the Kenya Parliament by a Kenyan citizen. An internal forensic investigation done by KPMG to investigate the dealings and modus operandi at Safaricom exposes serious fraud, numerous conflict of interest cases, bribery among others as the order of the day at Safaricom, where internal staff collude with suppliers to hike prices of goods and services and use numerous shell companies to defraud Safaricom
Vodafone UK, which partly owns Safaricom was forced to immediately replace Bob as soon as this information became public. We are also informed that the Serious Frauds Office in London has already launched investigations into this issue. Ironically, back at home, Bob Collymore is spearheading an anti-corruption war in the private sector with the governments backing yet his own organization has been put on the spotlight as the most corrupt in the region.
Citing the trove of leaked documents, the forensic report has revealed that Safaricom contracts worth billions of shillings were awarded to unscrupulous wheeler dealers and cowbow contractors on the basis of insider trading in complete disregard of ethical procurement standards.
Collymore’s fate is now awaiting the outcome of an investigation which has been launched by Vodafone and Government authorities in the UK and Kenya Parliament into Safaricom procurement procedures and contracts awarded in the past.