Sister organisations of transparency international (TI) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have reported in their first ever bribery index that the Kenya police is the most corrupt institution in East Africa.
The survey conducted between 16th April and 15th May this year, indicates that Kenya has the highest incidence of corruption at 45% while the level of corruption in Uganda is 34%. According to the index, Tanzania is the least corrupt country in East Africa with a corruption incidence of 17.8%. The survey sampled 10,517 respondents across all the administrative provinces in the three countries.
Over half of those polled across the region, indicated that they had paid bribes to access services. 68% of those who paid bribes in Uganda did so to facilitate the delivery of services which are already catered for by their taxes while 51% of the Kenyans sampled reported paying bribes to get services.
A similar trend was replicated in Tanzania where 55% of the respondents were asked for bribes while seeking services. The ranking of key public service delivery agencies, for instance the police, judiciary, immigration departments, local authorities, power utility companies, water ministries and hospitals shows that the public service in East Africa is riven with corruption.
‘Graft in these institutions is increasing the cost of doing business in East Africa. Given the fluidity of international finance and trade, the East African Community has to create the right environment if the member countries are to attract and retain foreign domestic investments,’ said the T I–Kenya, executive director, Job Ogonda.
The police force in the three East African countries top their respective aggregate indices. The judiciary has also performed dismally with Tanzania’s being ranked fourth in the regional aggregate index, Kenya’s is eighth while Uganda’s is 14th. This highlights a dire need for reforms to improve the services given by the two institutions that are tasked with enforcing law and order.
‘The three countries have expressed their economic development, governance and social development plans elaborately. For these plans to be realised, investors must be confident of the respect for the rule of law as concerns their commercial interests. Trade disputes that arise must be judiciously and expeditiously settled. This can not happen where the judicial systems of the three countries are corrupt as indicated in this report,’ said Ogonda.
The TI index also reveals that there is widespread graft in the three revenue authorities. The Uganda revenue authority is listed as the seventh most corrupt institution in the region, the Kenya revenue authority is 25th and Tanzania’s holds the 38th position.
The high unemployment rate and harsh economic climate could have contributed to the increase in the incidence of bribery in the region. Cases of employment-related bribery in Kenya rose from 6% in ‘08 to 11% in ‘09 while the value of bribes paid to access job seeking-related services soared by 279%. In Tanzania 41% of the total value of bribes paid were for employment-related issues.
The good news is that apathy to bribery and corruption seems to be reducing. The propensity to bribe and not report fell from 64% in ‘08 to 56% in ‘09. The scenario is the same in Tanzania and Uganda. In Tanzania only 8% of the bribery incidents were reported; indicating a lack of public confidence in the institutions which are supposed to address such complaints.
In Uganda the reporting pattern was quite low with 70% of those who paid bribes failing to report the incidents. The major reasons for not forwarding corruption–related cases were similar across the board. While some respondents believed that no action would be taken, others feared intimidation by the concerned authorities while others did not know where to report such cases.