, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Kenya has been ranked as the most corrupt country in East Africa, according to the first ever regional Bribery Index by Transparency International (TI).
The index shows widespread corruption incidents in Kenya than Uganda and Tanzania which reported relatively lower corruption incidences.
“Kenya has a bribery incidence of 45 percent followed by Uganda at 35 percent, finally Tanzania which has 17 percent,” TI Kenya’s Executive Director Job Ogonda said.
He said the survey was carried out between April 16 and May 15, among 10,517 respondents who were selected through random household sampling across all the administrative provinces in the three countries.
“The respondents were asked to mention institutions where they were required to pay or where bribes were expected as a condition to access public services,” Mr Ogonda said.
Over half of those polled across the region, the report said, indicated that they had paid or were expected to pay bribes to access services in public and private institutions.
Kenya’s Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua admitted that the “country was faced with a serious challenge in fighting corruption.”
“It is something that we are looking at, we need to look at the strategies that we have been undertaking to see if they are working or what is it that need to be done,” he said at his weekly briefing.
The report states that: “Fifty one percent of the Kenyans sampled reported paying bribes to get services while in Uganda 68 percent said they paid bribes to facilitate the delivery of services which are already catered for by their taxes.”
“A similar trend was replicated in Tanzania where 55 percent of the respondents were asked for bribes while seeking services,” the TI boss said.
Of 100 public and private institutions sampled in the three countries, Kenya claimed a larger share of 40 where corruption is rife.
Top on the list is the Kenya police with a bribery index rate of 66.5 percent followed by their Tanzanian counterparts with 62.56 and Uganda police at position five with 58.3 percent.
“The police force in the three East African countries top their respective aggregate indices and the Kenya police was seen as the most corrupt in the region,” the report states.
Kenya’s Defence Ministry is at position three with a 61 percent bribery incidence rate, Tanzanian courts position four with 61.8 percent and Tanzania’s Immigration at position six with 55.66 percent.
Others include the Uganda Revenue Authority (54.7 percent), Kenya’s Judiciary (54.4 percent), Ugandan Public Service (49.5 percent), Uganda Defence Ministry (46.4 percent) and Kenya’s Public Works Ministry (46.2 percent) in that order.
Other Kenyan organisations listed include the Nairobi City Council (42.9 percent), Mombasa City council (40.9 percent), Labour Ministry (41.7 percent), Immigration (39.6 percent) among others in the top 100 most corrupt organisations in the region.
“The overall level of corruption as reflected by the proportion of East Africans from whom a bribe was solicited or expected during the service interaction stood at 34.6 percent for Uganda, 17 percent for Tanzania and 45 percent in Kenya,” the report states.
“Graft in these institutions is increasing the cost of doing business in East Africa,” Mr Ogonda said. “Given the fluidity of international finance and trade, the East African Community has to create the right environment if the member countries are to attract and retain foreign domestic investments.”
TI Kenya’s Board chairman Dr Richard Leakey said: “There is dire need to entrench good governance, public sector values and ethics, good human resource management and integrity in our public service system.”
“Until public agencies become accountable and transparent, essential services to the people will be half-baked inefficient and inaccessible.”