Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kenya Police most corrupt institution: Index

Assistant minister in the Prime Minister's office Alfred Khang'ati gives a keynote address during the release of the East African Bribery Index 2010 July 22, 2010 at Nairobi's Serena Hotel. The Index ranked the police as the most corrupt institution in the country. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA

Assistant minister in the Prime Minister's office Alfred Khang'ati gives a keynote address during the release of the East African Bribery Index 2010 July 22, 2010 at Nairobi's Serena Hotel. The Index ranked the police as the most corrupt institution in the country. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA 

By DAVE OPIYO

The Kenya Police is the most corrupt institution in the country, according to a Transparency International Bribery Index.

The index, which covers five East African countries, shows that the Nairobi City Council, Defence Ministry, the Judiciary, the Lands Ministry, department of Registration of Persons and the Kenya Prisons Service are the institutions where graft is most prevalent, in that order.

Kenya Ports Authority, the ministry of Immigration and the ministry of Forestry and Wildlife completed the list of top ten corrupt institutions in the country.

According to the findings of the survey, the average size of bribes in most of these institutions also increased.

For instance, in the Ministry of Defence, it increased from Sh42,000 in 2009 to 53,500 this year, while that of the Judiciary increased from Sh6,828 to Sh11,046.

However, Kenya relinquished its position as the most corrupt country in East Africa to Burundi.

TI-Kenya’s Executive Director Mr Samuel Kimeu, while releasing the findings revealed that Burundi, which only joined the East African Community three years ago, had the highest graft prevalence rate in the region at 36.7 percent.

Uganda came in at second place with a 33 percent corruption prevalence rate.

It was closely followed by Kenya at 31.9 percent while Tanzania was fourth with 28.6 percent.

Rwanda was ranked the least corrupt country in the region with a prevalence of 6.6 percent.

The Revenue Authority in Burundi emerged as the most corrupt institution in the region, dislodging the Kenya Police which topped the ranking in 2010.

Slight improvement

The Kenya Police made a slight improvement but was still ranked as the third most corrupt institution in the region.

Efforts to get comments from Police Spokesman Mr Eric Kiraithe were futile as his phone remained unanswered.

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 this year.

Kenya had a sample size of 3,022.

According to the report, the perception of corruption in the country has not changed much with 90 percent of respondents rating the country as being between corrupt and extremely corrupt.

Sixty Eight percent of respondents, according to the Index, felt that corruption levels in the country were likely to increase in the next one year.

Interestingly, 70 percent of those sampled felt that the government was not taking sufficient action to combat corruption.

“Only 8.5 percent regarded Kenya as slightly corrupt,” said Mr Kimeu.

‘This is in sharp contrast to Rwanda where a whooping 84 percent of the respondents perceived their country as being slightly corrupt.

The release of the survey comes only three weeks after the coming into effect of the Common Market Protocol, which will free up the movement of goods, service, capital and people across the five countries.

Mr Kimeu said corruption , however, threatens to hold back the attainment of all 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,” he said.

Similar sentiments were also echoed by the heads of the other four TI national chapters in the East African region.

Good laws

Mr Robert Lugolobi, the Executive Director of TI -Uganda said governments needed to seriously tackle corruption if their respective countries were to develop.

“We have good laws to tackle graft but the problem lies in their implementation,” he said.

“We therefore need the political will to end corruption and by extension, the culture of impunity.”

Mr Bubelwa Kaiza, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Transparency Forum called on the five countries in the region to harmonise their governance policies if the war against graft is to be won.

Others who spoke at the event included Mr Venant Bacinoni of the Consumers Association of Burundi and Mr Apollinaire Mupiganyi - the Executive Secretary Transparency Rwanda.

Mr Alfred Khangati, an Assistant minister in the Office of the Prime Minister said the key to fighting graft in the public service is when civil servants maintains transparency and accountability.

He said that even as tough action is meted out on ‘bribe takers’, the same treatment should also be extended to ‘bribe givers’.

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