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Kenya Bribery Index (KBI) 2008

Employment related bribes highest as service delivery is hampered

Kenyans are paying more bribes for services due to government inefficiency in services delivery which results in bribery by citizens who want to speed up access to services. This is according to The Kenya Bribery Index (KBI), released today by Transparency International-Kenya (TI-K).

According to the report, 45% of respondents paid bribes to speed up access to services, compared to 29% last year. “Public service delivery in Kenya are prone to bribery due to impunity entrenched by leadership, inefficiency in public sectors, and policies that hamper Kenyans ability to understand, monitor and access the impact and process of service delivery” said Mr. Job Ogonda, Executive Director TI-Kenya. He added that “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”. To contain bribe demand in service delivery, Kenyan citizens must be able to monitor and influence service and policy impact at the lowest local level. This will reduce the gatekeeper opportunities in service delivery. The responsibility of an enabled, responsible citizenry is a government responsibility that has been not only abdicated, but often punished by service providers.

The report also identifies the police, ministry of lands and Ministry for local government as the most affected by corruption. The employment sector has however the highest bribe size this year. Bribes paid in relation to employment are twice as much as bribes paid for business purposes. The report places the average size of bribe paid for employment purposes at Ksh 5,962 compared to Ksh 3,491 for business transactions. “The pervasiveness of corruption is turning Kenya into a nation of predominantly resigned citizens on matters of transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs”, said Ogonda.

Corruption perception and reporting channels

Kenyans perception of corruption has not changed since last year. According to experiences of Kenyans captured in the survey the perception has moved more towards the negative to what many described to “a lot worse” and “a little worse” levels of corruption. “This was best summarised by Hon. Martha Karua, Min. of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, at the 3rd Integrity Review Conference (Wednesday 16th, July) when she posed a question “would the man on the street say anything has changed?” According to the report 64% of respondents paid bribes and never reported the incident; a situation that the reports cites leads to the culture of impunity amongst our leaders and resignation among citizens. In terms of reporting incidents, most Kenyans were highly passive in regard to bribes demanded by the Police. Despites this passivity in reporting bribe incidents, most Kenyans preferred to report bribe demand to organisations channels.

Seven exits and 3 entrants

This index show interesting shifts in bribery. Unlike last year where we had 15 new entrants and 5 exist, this year’s index has seven exits and three entries.

Entrants: Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Water Companies and Private Universities

Institutions exiting the index are: Teacher Service Commission (TSC), Transport Licensing Board (TLB), Lawyers, Attorney General’s Office (AG’s), Prisons, Insurance Companies and Posta.

In comparison to the 2007 index, this year’s new entrants are institutions that had undergone rigorous reform and to some extent privatisation of specific departments. These institutions had experienced high revenue collection and visibility in terms of service delivery. “This shift does not necessarily mean that standards of services in these sectors have gone down, but institutions like KRA and local authorities probably have more citizens initiating (supply side) corruption to avoid complying with stipulated regulations”. This can be summed up by the five hot spots where bribery was experienced in the report. They to include bribes to avoid complying with law regulation , avoid punitive measures (law enforcement) , and facilitate contract/commercial transaction amongst others. “There is, therefore, likelihood that measures introduced to contain corruption like Electronic Tax Register (ETR) and billing systems have created opportunity for rent-seeking for unscrupulous gate keepers.”

The Kenya Police

According to the index, the likelihood of encountering bribery with a police is highest at 93%, followed by local authorities and Nairobi City Council at 84% and 83% respectively. The police ranking is compounded by the police capacity to extract bribe from the citizens, and the ability to inflict punishment amongst others. “Law enforcement and justice delivery is critical to peace and security in this country. Rampant corruption in these sectors risks socially legitimising alternative justice systems such as illegally-armed groups, vigilanteism and mob-justice” said Job Ogonda.

Transparency International - Kenya therefore recommends:

  • Institutions should strengthen their capacity to enable citizens participate in monitoring efficiency in the institutions through dissemination on the processes and time frames for effect of specific services.
  • Citizens should take up their civic responsibility and demand for accountability from institutions and their leaders to contain impunity.
  • Service delivery policies should be more efficient to enable ease in accessing services.
  • The government should enforce our laws to make corruption an expensive venture and the risks as high to contain the culture of impunity.

The research was conducted between 25th April - May, 2008


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Felgona Atieno
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