Kenya: Burundi most corrupt country in East Africa as its revenue authority tops list of corrupt institutions

Issued by Transparency International Kenya



Kenya has relinquished its position as the most corrupt country in East Africa to Burundi, according to the East African Bribery Index 2010 by Transparency International-Kenya. The index which has expanded to Rwanda and Burundi this year, ranks the latter at the top position with a corruption prevalence of 36.7% while Rwanda is the least corrupt country in the region with a prevalence of 6.6%. Kenya, at third position, has registered a slight improvement in the prevalence of corruption, from a corruption prevalence rate of 45% in 2009, to 31.9% this year. Uganda comes second at 33% while Tanzania is fourth with a corruption prevalence of 28.6%.

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 10,505 respondents selected through random household sampling across all the administrative provinces in the five countries between January and March 2010.

Most corrupt institutions

The EABI 2010 clearly shows that apart from Rwanda where incidents of bribery were found to be negligible, corruption is still an impediment to responsive public service delivery in the region. Key governance and enforcement institutions such as the police, judiciary, and defence featured prominently in the index, as did institutions offering key services like health, education, housing and finance.

The Revenue Authority in Burundi is the most corrupt institution in the region, dislodging The Kenya Police which topped the ranks in 2009. The police force in Burundi comes second, followed by the Kenya Police, Uganda Revenue Authority and Tanzania Police in that order. Completing the list of the top ten most corrupt institutions are the Uganda Police, Ministry of State for Defence (Kenya), the Nairobi City Council and the Judiciary in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Aggregate Index for Rwanda could not be formulated following the limited number of reported bribery incidents in that country (78 bribery experiences out of 4,350 interactions with service delivery institutions). Indeed, none of the institutions in Rwanda are ranked in the regional Aggregate Index. TI-Kenya hopes that a deeper comparative study will be conducted in Rwanda to establish practices that have led to a negligible level of corruption there.

Exits and entrants

Three institutions listed in 2009 exited the 2010 Kenya Aggregate Index; these are the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Ministry of Public Works. Entrants to the index are the Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Ports Authority, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The Aggregate Index for Tanzania had notable changes due to the first-time listing of some institutions. Eight of the listed institutions were new entries with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) being the only notable exit. Institutions listed for the first time included the Tanzania Ports Authority, Registrar of Births and Deaths, Tanzania Prisons Service and the Department of Defence.

In the case of Uganda, there were minimal changes in the overall ranking compared to the 2009 Aggregate Index. However, some institutions including public and private schools, public hospitals and state corporations made their first appearance in the index. The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, The Aids Support Organisation (TASO) and the Immigration Department left the index.

Corruption perception

The corruption perception in Kenya has not changed much for three consecutive years, according to the index. Close to 90% of the respondents rated the country as being between corrupt and extremely corrupt, while only 8.5% regarded Kenya as slightly corrupt. This is in sharp comparison to Rwanda, where about 84% of the respondents perceived the country as slightly corrupt while only 12% said the country was either corrupt or extremely corrupt. Both Tanzania and Burundi had 85% of the respondents rating their countries as corrupt or extremely corrupt while only eight percent of those sampled in Burundi perceived their country as slightly corrupt.

Reporting of Corruption Cases

The index highlights that the reportage of corruption cases is still very low in the region. Ninety-three percent of the respondents from Uganda who experienced a bribery situation did not report the matter to any authority, while 92.9% of those who were in a bribery situation in Tanzania did not file a complaint. Majority of the respondents in Burundi (92%) did not report the bribery incident. In Kenya, 89% of the respondents did not report corruption cases, while the majority of those who filed complaints (40.8%) sought redress from the management of the respective institutions with 11% and 4.9% reporting to the police and the Office of the Ombudsman (Public Complaints Standing Committee) respectively.

Reforms necessary to achieve the objectives of the common market

The commencement of the East African Common Market Protocol on July 1st, 2010 is expected to boost trade across the five East African countries by promoting free movement of goods, services and capital. However, corruption threatens to hold back the attainment of the objectives set out by the member states.

“East African countries need to scrutinise their service delivery mechanisms with the objective of rooting out practices such as corruption that are impeding the accessibility of basic services, “said the Transparency International-Kenya Executive Director, Samuel Kimeu. “This will promote equality, development and the reduction of poverty in the region,” he added during the launch attended by the heads of the other four TI national chapters in East Africa.

In the Kenyan case, a Proposed Constitution containing stronger accountability safeguards will be put to vote on August 4th, 2010. If passed, it will serve as the gateway for much needed institutional reforms aimed at curbing corruption incidents in the public sector.

To view the East African Bribery Index 2010, click here.


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Sheila Masinde
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