Report: Government is Not Doing Enough to Stop Corruption

A new opinion poll report from Transparency International (TI) titled “People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015revealed that most Africans believe corruption is on the rise and majority of African governments are failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery, and secret deals.

The report is based on the opinion on 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 who were questioned by Transparency International and Afrobarometer on their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country.

More than half of those surveyed (58 per cent) said corruption has increased over the past 12 months.

Geographically, 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption.

Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country. 22 per cent of people surveyed that have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid a bribe.

Of the six key public services surveyed, research showed that people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid a bribe. 28 percent and 27 percent respectively of people who had contact with these services paid a bribe.

Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe, and in urban areas they are even more likely to pay bribes.

Transparency International Chair, José Ugaz, said: “Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation. We call on governments and judges to stop corruption, eradicate impunity and implement Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to curb corruption. We also call on the people to demand honesty and transparency and mobilize against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt.”

Despite these disappointing findings, the bright spots across the continent were in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal. Citizens in these countries were some of the most positive in the region when discussing corruption, a statement from TI reads.

Significantly, for the first time, people reported that business executives are highly corrupt. Business ranked as having the second highest levels of corruption in the region, just below the police who were in the past regularly rated as highly corrupt.

Also, findings from the report showed that citizens are increasingly becoming key part of the anti-corruption initiative.

However, the survey finds that corruption reporting mechanisms are often seen as too dangerous, ineffective or unclear. More than 1 out of 3 Africans thinks that a whistleblower faces negative consequences for reporting corruption, which is why most people don’t report.

“Our work as civil society is clear: we have to spread a message of hope across the continent. Corruption can be tackled. People need to be given the space to stand up against it without fear of retaliation and governments need to get serious about ending the widespread impunity,” Transparency International Chair said.

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Nevertheless, the report recommended that to put corruption to ground zero, the following must be done:

  • Governments must strengthen and enforce legislation on corrupt business people and anti-money laundering to curb the high volume of illicit flows from the continent. This could address the negative perception of business if those profiting are held to account.
  • Governments must establish right to information and whistleblower protection legislation to facilitate the role of civil society in making public institutions more transparent, accountable and corruption-free.
  • Governments must show a sustained and deep commitment to acting on police corruption at all levels by promoting reforms that combine punitive measures with structural changes over the short- and medium-term. Cracking down on petty bribery has direct impact on the most vulnerable in society.
  • The African Union and its members provide the political will and financing needed to implement the review mechanism established for its anti-corruption convention.

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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