The decision to open up listed agricultural company Kakuzi to full scrutiny by encouraging anonymous complaints follows a growing trend of accountability in corporate governance.
Kakuzi has established the Sexual Harassment Reporting and Prevention program, SHARP urging stakeholders to make anonymous complaints against any Kakuzi employee, authorized agent, supplier or service provider.
The company has set up direct SHARP lines via Text or WhatsApp in order to encourage everyone to have a voice across a variety of channels in order to combat the issues.
“It is important that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by employees, company agents or executives of the Company is reported through the proper channels and dealt with,” Kakuzi said on its website
“It is not necessary for the individual to have proof that such an act is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed ‐ a reasonable belief is sufficient. The individual has no responsibility for investigating the matter ‐ it is the Company’s responsibility to ensure that an investigation takes place and necessary action implemented,” the firm says.
The company has come a long way from initially denying claims of sexual harassment by some workers to fighting the case in court.
Following internal review’s the company apologized and went on to make dramatic changes in its operations to develop open forums to combat sexual harassment and create avenues for anonymous reporting.
The firm has even extended the high level of disclosures to everyone they are in business with including agents and suppliers.
Companies offering avenues for making anonymous disclosures will have the most responsive channels to deal with internal problems before they get out of hand.
The capital markets regulator says anonymous disclosures are a credible way of demonstrating good corporate governance.
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has been championing for listed companies to do more to increase transparency and accountability.
In its code of ethics for corporate governance, the regulator urges issuers to disclose their whistleblowing policies in annual reports and websites.
In 2016 the CMA launched an anonymous reporting portal to enable whistleblowers to report malpractices in the capital markets.
The portal, which can be accessed through the Authority’s website, gives whistleblowers an opportunity to share anonymous but verifiable evidence with the potential to complement and support CMA’s investigation and enforcement efforts.
CMA has also launched a reward scheme for Whistleblower offering up to a maximum of Kes5 Million or 3 per cent of the amount recovered under the Capital Markets (Whistleblower) Draft Regulations 2021.
The regulator reckoned that this would encourage whistleblowers to confidently report any misconduct anonymously or in-person through any of the Authority’s communication channels.