It is now possible to know the rate of corruption in various counties and also post incidents of bribery, thanks to the anti-graft portal, www.ipaidabribe.or.ke.
The portal generates a corruption log according to counties, government departments and parastatals and the corresponding amount of bribes that exchanged hands.
At present, Nairobi ranks as the most bribe-prone county on the site followed by Mombasa and Nakuru.
Launched last year, the portal has attracted hundred of users who find it easy to post their experience with corruption than reporting it to the police.
“When the Kanju guys (City Council officers) came to harass me and demand a bribe for the renewal of my single business permit, I told them to shove it and I would pay it when it was due, they tried to threaten me and kept demanding to see my records and I told them I knew my rights and wouldn’t be intimidated. I also had the CCTV on and had recorded the whole incident. When I told them that, they left without another WORD,” says one respondent.
Another one said: “…recently when I wanted my power reconnected after hours, due to KP’s inefficiency the KP guy asked for “chai” (bribe). I gave him tea bags! The look on his face...priceless…”
These are some of the hundreds of anonymous reports posted by Kenyans on the new anti-graft website.
The portal, set up by civil activist Antony Ragui in November last year, is already generating popular following among Kenya’s online populace thus taking the fight against corruption to new heights.
ipaidabribe.or.ke allows Kenyans to anonymously share instances when they paid a bribe, when they refused to pay a bribe or instances when they were served without having to pay a bribe.
According to the Kenyan chapter of global anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, only seven per cent of corruption cases in the country are reported.
The majority of Kenyans state that there they lack faith in the available anti-corruption systems and believe that no action would be taken even if they reported the incident.
ipaidabribe.or.ke seeks to change this perception by encouraging Kenyans to come forward with their tales of graft and play their part in ridding the country of the vice.
“Kenyans talk about corruption everywhere,” explains Mr Ragui. “In the matatus when a policeman stops the vehicle and takes a bribe, on social media and in our work places we’ve all experienced corruption and everyone has a story to share.”
“The reason I started the website is to have Kenyans state their corruption cases and their value so that we can be able to categorically state the corruption hot spots in the country and even go further and establish the cost of corruption.”
Users log into the website and post their stories which are automatically logged and displayed on the site without any names or phone numbers.
The site administrator who also acts as moderator, Collins Baswony, goes through the postings to ensure that none of the users have revealed their identities or used profane language.
“So far, we have received 560 bribe reports across the entire country and the cumulative value is just over Sh15.2 million,” states Mr Baswony.
“The fact that it’s anonymous gives our users the necessary confidence to relate their experiences without fear of victimisation.
ipaidabribe.or.ke is mirrored on a similar initiative started in India two years ago where Indian citizens used it to map out corruption cases.
“When I was putting together the concept for IPAB I found out that there was another website in India with the same name so I made a request for the source codes and was given the green light to set up under a similar domain,” states Mr Rangui.
And just like in India where the website has been able to change the way the Ministry of Transport does business, Mr Rangui is committed to make an impact on at least one key government institution that is prone to corruption.
“We all know that corruption is endemic and we appreciate the roots it has in the Kenyan culture so eliminating it totally is a long term endeavour. We however believe that by the reports made on IPAB Kenyans shall take note and something positive will come out of it,” he said.
To help them collect more stories, the website is incorporating a mobile platform to make it possible for Kenyans to log in cases through their cell phones.
Mr Ragui is however wary of the flipside of whistle-blowing especially on an anonymous and interactive forum as IPAB and is quick to assure users that the website is free of any malicious intent against a particular person or institution.
“Some have expressed concern that the website can be used maliciously by disgruntled employees or individuals with personal vendettas against others,” he says.
“The website is not in place out of any political or personal motives and these are all experiences that most Kenyans go through.”
Mr Ragui hopes to take the website regional and is looking to launch the same application in Tanzania, Malawi and Ghana.