Kenya police still swimming in bribes

December 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – Ninety two percent of Kenyans believe that the police force is the most corrupt institution in Kenya, according to the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer Report, released by Transparency International (TI) on Thursday.

TI-Kenya Executive Director Samuel Mbithi Kimeu noted that the index which put the police at 4.6 on a scale of one to five – with five being most corrupt – also showed that 45 percent of Kenyans had bribed a public official in order to access services.

Out of the 1,000 Kenyans sampled almost half reported bribery incidences while interacting with officials from the customs, education, judiciary, land, medical services, police, registration, tax administration, and utility services departments.

“Globally, the police are identified as the most frequent recipient of bribes. This trend is replicated in Kenya where 59 percent of the respondents said that either they or a member of their household had paid a bribe to the police,” he said.

The survey, which was conducted between July 1 and 10 this year, also indicated that the Judiciary, Parliament and political parties were second in the corruption perception index scoring an average of 3.8.

“The education and the private/business sectors scored three and 2.8 respectively with the media perceived as the least corrupt at 1.6,” said Mr Kimeu.

However, while 56 percent of the respondents worldwide said that corruption in their countries had increased over the past three years, 48 percent of Kenyans sampled felt it had decreased. In addition, 70 percent of the Kenyan respondents deemed the government’s anti corruption efforts as effective.  

“It is noteworthy that Kenya was among countries that recorded relatively low corruption incidence perception levels, with an average of 62 percent of the respondents sampled from Sub-Saharan countries saying that corruption in their countries had increased,” noted Mr Kimeu.

Europe had the highest number of respondents stating that corruption had increased in the past three years at 73 percent followed by North America at 67 percent.

According to the survey, the poor and disadvantaged people in society continued to bear the biggest brunt due to graft. 

“As in past surveys, lower income earners reported paying more bribes than higher income earners. Globally, poorer people are twice as likely to pay bribes for basic services, such as utilities, medical services and education, than wealthier people,” he observed.

Mr Kimeu also called on citizens to fight graft from within their circles saying they also had a role to play. 

“Citizen’s engagement in the fight against corruption will compel those in authority to act; and will give people further courage to speak out and stand up for a cleaner, more transparent world. Kenyans must be their own watchdogs,” he said. 

He further asked Parliament to hasten the formation of the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution in order to catch up on the stipulated timelines in the implementation process.

“However, Parliament must ensure that the men and women appointed to serve in this commission are non-partisan, highly qualified individuals and equal to the Herculean task at hand,” he said.



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