FedEx Reports Kenya Bribery Allegations to U.S. Government
(Published by The Wall Street Journal) – FedEx Corp. told U.S. authorities that it received allegations that its Kenya operation paid bribes to government officials, according to a statement the company issued to The Wall Street Journal.
The shipping company has told the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission about the allegations it potentially violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the statement said.
FedEx also said it is investigating the allegations, and has “not found anything to substantiate the allegations.”
The anonymous person contacted the firm through email in December 2013 with allegations of bribery in Kenya, according to an email reviewed by the Journal.
FedEx General Counsel Christine Richards initially responded to the person and copied others on the email, saying that the tip was “similar to another complaint we are already investigating,” according to an email reviewed by the Journal. Ms. Richards then followed up in March by telling the person that FedEx had been “in touch with the SEC and DOJ regarding this matter,” according to another email reviewed by the Journal.
FedEx told the Journal it approached the SEC and DOJ “shortly after” receiving the December allegations, but didn’t say when specifically it went to authorities. The firm also said it has brought in a U.S. law firm and an external audit team in East Africa as a part of its investigation.
The person alleged that FedEx’s Kenya operation bribed government officials in the country between 2010 and 2013, according to the email. FedEx operates through a so-called nominated service contractor in Kenya and other countries in the region, according to the allegations and the company’s website.
The alleged bribes went to customs officials to clear shipments without inspection, as well as to government vehicle inspectors and others, the person alleged, according to the email.
The person also wrote that the same notification would go to the DOJ and SEC, according to the email, which jointly enforce the FCPA, which makes it illegal to offer money or a gift to foreign-government officials or employees to gain a business advantage.
FedEx said in its statement that it has been “engaged in a cooperative dialogue with both agencies” since it approached them about the allegations.
Representatives for the SEC and Justice Department declined to comment.