TI ranks Kenya third most corrupt Sub-Saharan country

Published on 08/06/2009

By Peter Orengo

Kenya is the third most corrupt country in sub-Saharan Africa, says a global corruption survey released by Transparency International on Sunday.

And in the sea of corruption, only one in four Kenyans who reported paying a bribe bothered lodging the complaint with the authorities, raising serious doubts about the effectiveness and the legitimacy of the public offices charged with anti-corruption efforts.

While the survey identifies the private sector as a key source of bribes, greasing hands to influence public policy, laws and regulations, the police in Kenya were highlighted as the key source of bribe demands.

Political parties, Parliament and the Civil Service were also identified as domains of corruption.

bribe demands

Moreover, petty bribery was found to be on the rise, with low-income respondents more likely to be met with bribe demands than high-income respondents.

The police, as in past surveys, were identified as the most common source of bribe demands, with one in four of those who had contact with the police in the previous year confessing to bribe payment.

Police officers’ ability to extract bribes from the citizenry was reportedly enhanced by their ability to inflict pain and punishment.

“Law enforcement and justice delivery are critical to peace and security. Rampant corruption in these sectors risks socially legitimising alternative justice systems such as illegally-armed groups, vigilantism and mob-justice” said Mr Job Ogonda, the Transparency International executive director in Kenya.

Half of the respondents, Ogonda said, saw the private sector as the most corrupt institution, an increase of eight per cent over five years ago.

Kenyans were found to be paying more bribes for services due to Government inefficiency in service delivery.

“Public service delivery in Kenya is prone to bribery due to impunity entrenched by leadership, inefficiency in public and private sectors, and policies that hamper Kenyans’ ability to understand, monitor and access the impact and processes of service delivery” said Ogonda, adding, “Effective policies are those that give the people and the Government the greatest, accessible and affordable services at the least cost in terms of fee and establishment.”

Only three in ten Kenyans believed the Government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective.

Most of those polled also felt that channels like the Ombudsman and Kenya Anti Corruption Corruption (Kacc), for making corruption-related complaints, were ineffective.

“Fewer than one in every four of those who paid a bribe in the past year lodged a formal complaint demonstrating serious deficits in the perceived legitimacy and effectiveness of channels for reporting and addressing bribery,” Ogonda said.

Echoing the findings of past editions of the corruption index, 68 percent of the respondents saw political parties as corrupt, while 29 percent saw the political parties as the single most corrupt institution in the country.

The Civil Service and Parliament followed in corruption perceptions, with 63 and 60 per cent of the respondents, respectively, saying they believed the two institutions were corrupt.

clean business

The media were the cleanest in the survey with just over 40 per cent of respondents labelling the sector corrupt, while only six per cent of those interviewed said it was the single most corrupt domestic institution.

The most notable finding of this year was the increasingly critical view of the private sector and a public motivated to pay a premium for clean business.

The public was also found to be critical of the private sector’s role in policy making, with more than half of respondents holding the view that bribery is often used to shape policies and regulations in most companies’ favour. Half of respondents said they were willing to pay a premium to buy from ‘corruption-free’ company.

The survey featured more than 73,000 respondents drawn from 69 countries around the world.



Read all about: Transparency International Bribery Index



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