NAIROBI – President William Ruto on Wednesday announced American technology company Oracle Corporation will set up a regional data centre in Kenya after a meeting at State House Nairobi.
The President said this will be the second such data centre in Africa, and that the move underscores Oracle’s commitment to the continent.
“This announcement is aimed at driving the digital transformation of government, public institutions, businesses and start-ups in Kenya. Kenya will continue to facilitate technology companies seeking to set up their footprints in Africa.
“In line with the government’s strategy to lay 100,000km of fibre optic, provide digital jobs and digitise government services, Kenya continues to be a prime destination for international IT companies,” the President said after meeting the delegation led by Senior Vice-President (OCI Product and Industries) Scott Twaddle.
Present at the meeting were ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, Principal Secretary Eng. John Tanui and Chief of Strategy Execution Aden Mohamed.
However, Oracle Corporation’s past record in the US and overseas raises eyebrows.
In September 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced settled charges requiring Oracle Corporation to pay more than $23 million to resolve charges that its subsidiaries in Turkey, the UAE, and India created and used slush funds to bribe foreign officials in return for business between 2016 and 2019, violating provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
According to the SEC’s order, Oracle subsidiaries in Turkey and UAE also used the slush funds to pay for foreign officials to attend technology conferences in violation of Oracle policies and procedures. The order found that in some instances, employees of the Turkey subsidiary used funds for the officials’ families to accompany them on international conferences or take side trips to California.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Oracle agreed to cease and desist from committing violations of the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions of the FCPA and to pay approximately $8 million in disgorgement and a $15 million penalty.
It was an investigation that involved the Capital Markets Board of Turkey, Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The SEC had 10 years earlier sanctioned Oracle in connection with the creation of slush funds.
In 2012, Oracle resolved charges relating to the creation of millions of dollars of side funds by Oracle India, which created the risk that those funds could be used for illicit purposes.
“The creation of off-book slush funds inherently gives rise to the risk those funds will be used improperly, which is exactly what happened here at Oracle’s Turkey, UAE, and India subsidiaries,” SEC’s FCPA Unit Chief Charles Cain said at the time.
“This matter highlights the critical need for effective internal accounting controls throughout the entirety of a company’s operations.”
In August 2022, Oracle also faced accusations of violating the privacy of five billion people.
It faced accusations of violating the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, California’s state constitution, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, competition law, and California Common Law.
The alleged violations involved collecting detailed dossiers on 5 billion people, with the information gathered including names, home addresses, emails, purchases online and in the real world, physical movements in the real world, income, interests and political views, and a detailed account of online activity.