Burundi has retained the top position as the most bribery prone country in East Africa, according to the East African Bribery Index 2011. Burundi has a bribery prevalence level of 37.9% up from 36.7% in 2010, while Uganda and Tanzania have been ranked second and third at 33.9% and 31.6% respectively, both up from 33% and 28.6% in 2010. Kenya recorded a slight improvement at 28.8% down from 31.9% in 2010. Rwanda is once again ranked fifth with a bribery prevalence of 5.1% down from 6.6% last year.
The East African Bribery Index is a governance tool developed to measure bribery levels in the private and public sectors in the region. The survey was conducted among 12,924 respondents selected through random household sampling across all the administrative regions in the five countries between February and May 2011. The respondents were asked to mention institutions where they were required to pay bribes or where bribes were expected as a condition to access services, and if the service sought was delivered upon payment or refusal to pay the bribe.
The police, revenue authorities and the judiciary across the different countries were poorly rated in the regional aggregate index. All the police institutions in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi appeared in the list of the ten most bribery prone institutions in East Africa. Uganda Police lead the pack of the most bribery prone institutions in the region, followed by the Burundi Police, Customs/Revenue Authority – Burundi, Kenya Police and Uganda Revenue Authority in that order. For the second year running, the survey did not record enough bribery reports to formulate an index for Rwanda. The bribery reports recorded for most of the institutions were statistically insignificant to form a reliable basis for ranking.
The survey also sought to establish the sectors most affected by bribery. The law enforcement sector emerged the most bribery prone sector in Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda. The health and education sectors were also ranked adversely in comparison to the other sectors.
Bribery incidence across genders
The survey also analysed bribery payments in the water, education and health sectors according to gender. In Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, there were higher instances of women experiencing bribe demands or expectations in the health sector and similarly paying a bribe than the men. In the water and education sectors, more bribes were demanded from and paid by the men than women in the three countries. Male respondents were more likely to experience a bribery situation as well as pay a bribe in the different sectors in Burundi.
Reporting of corruption cases
Reporting of corruption cases was low in all the five countries. Burundi recorded the lowest number of people forwarding corruption complaints with only 3.2% reporting corruption incidents. Only 7.1 % of the respondents in Kenya reported incidents of corruption compared to 10.8% last year; 9.9% and 6.9% forwarded corruption complaints in Uganda and Tanzania respectively while 16% filed complaints in Rwanda.
Rwanda retained the most positive outlook in this regard. Only 2.4 of the Rwandan respondents described the country as extremely corrupt compared to 36.8% in Tanzania, 44% in Kenya, 51.3% in Uganda and 53.1% in Burundi. In terms of the public’s perception on the government’s commitment to tackle graft, Rwanda topped once again with 93% of the respondents saying that their government is sufficiently committed to the cause. This perceptual judgment was most adverse in Uganda where 61% of the respondents believe their government lacks the commitment to confront corruption. 45.4% and 47.3% held the same view in Kenya and Burundi respectively.
The commitment shown by the East African countries to attract foreign investments and promote trade in the region may face challenges if corruption and other forms of public inefficiencies are not tackled. Improving governance practices therefore becomes an urgent imperative if the East African countries are to achieve developmental objectives and realise full economic and political integration. Confronting corruption occupies the core of such a response.
The bribery index is a snapshot of corruption in a region or country and is not institution-specific. Therefore, in order to understand the extent and scope of corruption in an institution, an institutional integrity study to identify systematic weaknesses that may predispose the organisation to corrupt practices is necessary. The TI national chapters and contacts (partners) in the five East African countries thus welcome partnerships with public institutions aimed at comprehensively identifying and strengthening internal systems and procedures to curb corruption.
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