ISO 37001:2016 and its Vital Role in Fighting Corruption

ISO 37001:2016 and its Vital Role in Fighting Corruption: KENAS joins the Public-Private Dialogue

By Michelle Makena

The Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) plays a crucial role in advancing ISO standards in Kenya and the region to improve business governance by offering accreditation to conformity assessment bodies. This ensures that they are competent to carry out their duties globally as they meet internationally recognized standards and thus the saying, accredited once accepted everywhere.

Recently, KENAS participated in a three-day British Chamber of Commerce Kenya, public-private dialogue aimed at enhancing awareness of the ISO 37001:2016 Anti Bribery Management System – Requirements with guidance for use and in this case for use by select exporting and export-ready businesses. The dialogue intended to inform more about unethical behaviors, especially corruption, and its key elements such as theft, embezzlement, nepotism, fraud, bribery, and conflict of interest. The discussion also addressed the dynamics of an act of corruption.

Corruption is a pervasive problem undermining economic growth. It also erodes trust in institutions and perpetuates social inequalities. To combat this global challenge, countries around the world have implemented various strategies and initiatives to prevent, detect and punish corruption. ISO 37001:2016 – an international standard designed to help organizations implement effective anti-bribery management systems, consequently is a critical tool since it provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing, and improving an anti-bribery management system in relation to the organization’s activities

KENAS has joined forces with public-private stakeholders to promote the adoption of the standard as a key means in this fight. This blog post explores how ISO 37001:2016 plays a vital role in fighting corruption and highlights KENAS’ efforts towards promoting its implementation through public-private dialogue initiatives.


From Left to Right:  Mohammad Shohaieb- Principal Consultant BSI, Martin Chesire- KENAS CEO, Eddy Njoroge- President ISO, Farida Abbas – CEO, BCCK

The ISO 37001:2016 standard deals with bribery in various sectors, including public, private, and non-profit, involving the organization or its representatives, as well as its business partners, in relation to the organization’s activities. This includes direct and indirect forms of bribery. The standard is only applicable to bribery. In Kenya the Bribery Act, 2016 is the key legislation governing bribery. Other supporting legislations include the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 which discusses legislation governing bribery.

The impact of these and other international instruments is to have a corporate liability offence in which the key legal defense for the company is evidencing adequate procedures and exercising all due diligence to have prevented the bribery. The Standard contains requirements for an effective anti-bribery management system, including:

  • Policy
  • Commitment
  • Context
  • Roles, responsibilities, and authorities
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Operation

In conclusion, unethical business practices are a serious threat to a country’s economic growth and social well-being. ISO 37001:2016 provides a framework for organizations to develop effective anti-bribery management systems to help prevent and detect such corrupt practices. KENAS’ participation in the public-private dialogue is a crucial step towards promoting the implementation of the standard in Kenya as we contribute towards improving business governance and promoting ethical practices. Through its accreditation services, KENAS will always ensure that conformity assessment bodies meet internationally recognized standards and are competent to carry out their duties. We hope that the adoption of ISO 37001:2016 will continually be in use as we work towards a more transparent and fair global business environment.