Fewer East Africans are reporting cases of bribery, even as access to basic services in the region continues to be hampered by the vice. According to the East African Bribery Index 2014, an average of 10% of East Africans filed complaints on bribery with majority not reporting for varied reasons including lack of information on where to report or because they felt, among other reasons, no action would be taken. Bribery levels in the police, judiciary and lands services across the East African Community remain high; indicating that reforms in these sectors have not borne fruit, in countries where such processes have been initiated such as Kenya.
The East African Bribery Index
The East African Bribery Index (EABI) is a governance tool developed to map out bribery experiences in the region during service delivery interactions in key sectors. The survey was conducted in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by Transparency International chapters in the region and Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA) in Tanzania. The index examines indicators such as likelihood of bribery, prevalence of bribery, average size of bribe, share of national bribe and impact of bribery. It also examines the reasons for paying bribes, reporting of bribery incidents and the public's perception of corruption among other views on the fight against corruption.
Likelihood of encountering bribery: Burundi had the highest likelihood of bribery with a score of 19.4% from 18.6% last year, followed by Tanzania at 19% from 12.9%. Uganda which topped the 2013 index dropped to third position at 17.9% from 26.9%. Kenya and Rwanda maintained the fourth and fifth positions at 12.3% and 2.9% respectively with Kenya’s score rising by 4.4 percentage points while Rwanda dropped 1.5 percentage points.
The police in Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya were ranked the most bribery prone institutions in East Africa. The police in Rwanda, ranked fifth in 2013 dropped to eighth position, registering a decrease in score. Land Services in Uganda, Kenya and Burundi, and the Judiciary in Kenya and Tanzania were also ranked among the top ten worst performing sectors in the regional aggregate index.
Share of national bribe: The Police in Kenya had the lion’s share of the bribes reported as paid in Kenya, accounting for almost half of all the bribes paid at 43.5%. Land Services was second at 11.9% followed closely by the Judiciary at 11.6%. The Police also claimed the largest stake of bribes paid in the other four countries as follows: Burundi (30%), Rwanda (28.8%), Tanzania (25.6%) and Uganda (23.7%).
Why they paid a bribe: Bribe payment was largely attributed to the need to expedite service delivery in Tanzania (38%), Burundi (44%) and Rwanda (32%). In Kenya and Uganda, the highest proportion of respondents said they paid a bribe since it was the only way to access the services they were seeking at 31% and 46% respectively.
Reporting of bribery incidents: About 90% of the respondents that encountered a bribery incident did not report or make a complaint to any authority or person. In Kenya, 27% of the respondents said they did not know where to report while in Tanzania the highest proportion of respondents (28%) felt that no action would be taken to resolve their complaint. In Burundi and Uganda, 18% and 33% respectively, did not report because they were beneficiaries of the bribery deal and in Rwanda, 29% feared self-incrimination.
Perception on the level of corruption: Majority of the respondents in Uganda (82%), Kenya (81%), Tanzania (68%) and Burundi (72%) described the level of corruption in their respective countries as high and felt it had increased in the past 12 months. In Rwanda, 52% described it as low and decreasing in the past 12 months, with 16% terming it high.
Projected level of corruption: When asked to predict the level of corruption in the next year, a high proportion of respondents from all the countries except Rwanda said it would rise. 78% of the respondents in Rwanda were optimistic that the level of corruption would drop, while 49% in Burundi, 51% in Kenya, 52% in Tanzania and 61% in Uganda said it would go up.
Government anti-corruption efforts: 97% of the respondents from Rwanda were satisfied with government efforts towards fighting corruption while their fellow East Africans felt that government anti-corruption efforts were insufficient. 59% in Burundi, 58% in Kenya, 60% in Tanzania and 59% in Uganda expressed discontent with their governments’ efforts to tackle corruption.
Personal initiative to address corruption: In 2014, the survey sought to establish what citizens had personally done to fight corruption in the past 12 months. A high proportion of the respondents in Burundi (79%), Kenya (57%), Tanzania (71%) and Uganda (71%) said they had done nothing to fight corruption in the period. The only positive feedback came from Rwanda with 63% saying their effort included refraining from any act of corruption with 11% saying they had done nothing to fight corruption.
- Complaints referral and resolution mechanisms: State and non-state actors involved in the reporting of corruption should scale up efforts and collaborate to raise awareness on avenues and procedures for reporting corruption.
- Reforms in the Police, Land Services and Judiciary: Reforms in adversely mentioned sectors are priority to ensure more transparency and accountability in service delivery. Where such reforms have already been initiated, an audit of their progress or effectiveness should be undertaken.
- Punitive action against corrupt officials: Government officials found culpable in acts of corruption should face the law as prescribed. Political will is critical, to ensure full application of anti-corruption legislation.
The East African Bribery Index is a snapshot of corruption in the region or a country and is not institution or sector specific. In order to understand the extent and scope of corruption in an institution, TI national chapters and partners in the five East African countries can be sought to conduct an institutional integrity study to identify systematic weaknesses that may predispose an institution to corrupt practices. TI national chapters and partners in the five East African countries welcome partnerships with public institutions aimed at comprehensively identifying and strengthening internal systems and procedures to curb corruption.
Note to Editors:
- Methodology: The East African Bribery Index 2014 survey was conducted in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda between May and September 2014 at the household level. Data was collected through face to face interviews with 10,597 respondents. The respondents were picked through simple random sampling based on the population size across the various administrative units in each country.
- The Transparency International chapters in the region are part of the autonomous chapters of the global Transparency International movement that are all bound by a common vision of a corruption-free world.
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