Kwale has been named as the Coast county where wananchi were asked to pay a bribe to access services, according to a new report published by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday.
The county was ranked as the fourth worst nationally, with the EACC report saying that it was among regions where bribes were actually paid.
Kwale was ranked behind Embu, which had the worst record, Kisii and Bomet. Mr Salim Mvurya is the governor of Kwale.
The report also ranks Kwale poorly in counties where bribes were most demanded last year.
The county was ranked at position eight countrywide in that category, behind Murang’a, Embu, Bomet, Kisii, Wajir, Laikipia and Narok. Nyeri and Garissa counties were at positions nine and ten respectively.
Lamu, also in Coast, earned the dubious distinction of being among the top ten counties where wananchi paid the highest amounts in bribes.
Mr Mvurya dismissed the report as malicious and in bad faith, wondering why the graft agency did not inform the counties about the findings.
“If indeed their aim is to fight corruption, they should have taken action and also informed us instead of waking up one day and declaring they have a report,’’ said the Council of governors vice chairman.
According to the survey, those seeking services in county offices in Lamu were being asked to pay Sh30,025 on average.
Nationally, only Mandera, Garissa and Baringo had a worse record than Lamu.
In Mandera, the average bribe was Sh80,000. This reduced to Sh51,990 in Garissa and Sh46,307 in Baringo. Meru closed the list of worst ten with an average bribe of Sh6,639, slightly worse off than Narok and Nandi.
On a positive note, Tana River was one of only two counties across the country which had no incidents of bribery. The other was Turkana County.
The lowest average bribe paid was recorded in Kericho County — Sh164.81 — followed by Isiolo at Sh200 and Kitui at Sh423.02.
The survey shows that the highest incidents of corruption by public officers were recorded in Garissa county followed by Kisii, Nyamira and Marsabit.
On the other hand, Nandi, Kericho and Machakos counties recorded the least observations of corrupt practices in public offices.
Wananchi who were seeking tenders from county governments were asked to pay the highest bribes at an average of Sh275,000.
Those seeking employment also had to part with an average of Sh115,933.
Others, who paid bribes of less than Sh34,000 were wananchi seeking the release of their impounded goods, those following up on their pensions, students seeking college admission and teachers applying for a Teachers Service Commission (TSC) number.
Nationally, the health services departments of county governments were perceived to be the most corrupt (29.1 per cent), followed by land and physical planning (14.3 per cent), public service boards (13.5 per cent) and Roads, Transport and Public works (11.5 per cent)
Among those interviewed, 34.8 per cent said the main effect of corruption in an increase in poverty levels followed by underdevelopment (26.3 per cent), poor service delivery (6.2 per cent), moral decay (5.3 per cent), inflation (4.4 per cent) and inequality (4.1 per cent).
In the national government, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, which is headed by Maj Gen Joseph Nkaissery, was ranked as the most corrupt.
Forty per cent of those interviewed named the ministry as the most corrupt. Another 14.3 per cent said the dubious distinction went to the Health Ministry, headed by Dr Cleopa Mailu.
The Lands Ministry was ranked as most corrupt by 11.3 per cent of the respondents. Others were Education, Transport and Infrastructure, Devolution, Defence and Agriculture.
A nation-wide sample of 5,260 households drawn from 46 counties took part in the survey. Only Mandera County was not involved.
Of those interviewed, 62.6 per cent said corruption was caused by greed. Only 13 per cent blamed poor pay while 6.3 per cent said bad governance was to blame.
Lack of professionalism (3.2 per cent) and inadequate knowledge about the consequences of corruption (2.8 per cent) were the other reasons given for corruption.