NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Would you publicly come clean that you paid a bribe to get a service? Probably not. But a phone application customised for Kenya is making it easier for citizens to report bribery incidences across the country, anonymously.
I Paid a Bribe (IPaB) is a desktop, mobile web and SMS app that gives Kenyans a platform to share their experiences with bribery. Through a user-friendly interface, a user can post an incident where they had to pay a bribe because a public officer expressly asked for it or a situation where the officer asked for it but they refused to pay the bribe.
The app also allows users to report an incidence where no bribe was asked, and the service was delivered on time.
Since the launch of the website in December 2011, 630 bribery incidences worth Sh20 million have been posted on the website.
The police, municipal services, immigration and registration of persons and lands departments are the leading bribery hotspots as reported by citizens.
Interestingly, there are quite a high number of witness reports showing high bribery prevalence in the private sector, according to IPaB.
“Once a user files a bribe report on the site, the system takes it up automatically and edits out any names. IPaB does not target individuals but seeks to expose weaknesses in the system and advocate for them to be rectified,” says Anthony Ragui, developer of IPaB.
After users send their experience, either through the IPaB website, mobile site or SMS, the story is published on the website after a 10 minute lag. Specific data from the story (county, amount paid and department) is logged in and added to the analytics.
“I paid a Bribe Kenya as a platform aims to get Kenyans to report and talk about the problem of corruption,” says Ragui, who came up with idea after seeing a similar initiative in India.
A Transparency International (TI) report on East African Bribery Index revealed while a vast majority of Kenyans perceived Kenya as a corrupt county, only seven percent reported corruption incidences, probably for fear of victimisation.
(This article was written by Ken Macharia for Capital Business)