Kenyans seeking services in government offices are forced to pay bribes of up to Sh200,000, according to a new report.
The report also states that Murang’a County and the police department are the most corrupt.
Other counties where corruption is prevalent are Trans Nzoia, Mandera, Kirinyaga and Marsabit, says the report compiled after a survey was conducted in 2016.
And among ministries, Interior tops the list of shame, followed by Health, Devolution, Education, Transport and Lands.
Yet again, the regular police department was declared the most corrupt of all government offices and was closely followed by the traffic section, which is an arm of the law enforcement agency.
Other corruption cases are mostly reported in public hospitals, Immigration department and at Constituency Development Fund offices.
The survey was carried out by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that also established that the least corrupt county is Lamu, followed by Taita-Taveta, Tana River and Kericho.
“The Constitution devolved services and resources closer to the people. Although it was intended to promote the democratic and accountable exercise of power, we have observed a rise in corruption cases at the county level. I call upon all county leaders to put in place measures for combating and preventing corruption in county governance systems,” said EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala while releasing the findings in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The report shows the biggest bribe is demanded from people seeking tenders, stating that, on average, one has to part with Sh196,987 to get a tender.
Other times when one is required to give big bribes are when seeking employment (Sh63,687), remarking of examinations (Sh30,000), collecting building and construction certificates (Sh22,000) and clearance of goods from ports and other entry points (Sh20,000), among others.
Loan applications, on average, attract a Sh200 bribe.
Police officers also demand bribes from people reporting crime and those who want their statements recorded, says the report. Officers also demand cash to release offenders.
Kenyans seeking police abstracts, those taking driving tests as well as those in need of P3 forms are also forced to part with money. At the county commissioner’s office, bribes are given to resolve land disputes.
The study shows that most bribes are paid at police stations, county health departments, chief’s offices, office of the registrar of persons and county commissioners’ offices in that order. And, in all cases, the average bribe is Sh7,081, an increase from Sh5,648 recorded in the previous year.
The report singles out Meru County, terming its officials the most notorious for demanding bribes.
Mr Wabukala said EACC recovered assets worth Sh6.7 billion, which will be returned to the public.
He told government executives: “You have also individually and publicly signed and committed to the code to fight corruption and to uphold national values in your respective counties. I hope you appreciate the seriousness of the commitment you made and the impact it has on the future of this great nation. Kenyans will be watching you keenly, and you will be judged on this commitment throughout your term of office.”
The chairman also urged Kenyans seeking government services to stop giving bribes.
During the survey, EACC researchers also found that besides corruption, poverty and unemployment, there are other major problems that Kenyans are grappling with.
EACC chief executive officer Halakhe Waqo also said: “Some of the services sought include request for information or assistance, request for a document or enquiry on administrative procedures. Although the proportion of those paying bribes has gradually increased as compared to 2015, it is well below the levels recorded in 2012.”
He added: “Some of the leading forms of corruption that were highlighted include bribery, favouritism and deliberate delay in service provision.”
The report also identified services that are prone to corruption. They are application for national identity cards and birth certificates.
People seeking medical attention, registration of title deeds and law enforcement on traffic matters were also faced with demands for bribery.
“At the county level, provision of health services, county public works services, education and childcare, finance and planning services were perceived to be the most prone to corruption,” said Mr Waqo.
Many Kenyans also feel the government is not doing much to fight corruption, saying often no action is taken against suspects. Besides bribery, Kenyans are also angered by favouritism, rigging and embezzlement that occur in government offices.
And to combat the menace, Kenyans said they would like to see prominent personalities being prosecuted, shows the study.
The report highly rated the media among institutions most trusted by the public, alongside religious organisations.
Respondents indicated high confidence in public broadcasting services (70.3 per cent), private broadcasting services (69.6 per cent) and religious organisations (63.8 per cent).
Regarding efforts to eliminate corruption, Kenyans lowly rated government institutions – the Executive (49.3 per cent) and EACC (43.9 per cent).
“Compared to 2015, 42.8 per cent of the respondents think the government is committed to the fight against corruption which represents a 10.7 per cent decline. Those who indicated that they do not know if the government is committed or not in the fight against corruption, almost doubled to 12.4 per cent compared to the 2015 survey,” the report says.
Greed for quick wealth is the biggest cause of corruption, the 2015 report notes. It had said other causes are poor remuneration, unaffordable services, delay in service provision, low staff morale, lack of proper control systems and willingness by the public to give bribes.