Bribes paid to KRA staff jumped most, says Transparency report

Bribes paid to tax officials jumped the highest last year as Judiciary staff received the largest inducements, a new bribery survey reveals.

The Transparency International survey shows that the average size of bribe to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) workers increased to Sh6,815 last year, up S,400.

Judiciary officials received the largest bribes at Sh7,885, which is lower than the Sh8,390 paid, in spite of the huge resources spent reforming the court system.

Average bribes paid to Land officials stood at Sh7,219 while that of the police was at Sh4,821, up from Sh4,411.

The Transparency International survey, which interviewed 53,784 people in East Africa, indicated that a measly seven per cent of bribery incidences were reported to authorities.

“There is general lack of confidence displayed by respondents in the authorities that take up their corruption complaints,” said Transparency International executive director Samuel Kimeu. Majority of Kenyans said they pay bribes to hasten access to services.

Kenya ranks fourth among other East African countries in bribery with a prevalence rate of 12.3 per cent while Burundi ranks first at 19.4 per cent. Tanzania is in position two at 19 per cent while Uganda comes in third at 17.9 per cent.

READ: Kenya is fourth most corrupt in E. Africa: report

Reports alleging purchase of goods and services by civil servants at inflated prices and theft of taxpayers’ cash has raised pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has promised to tackle rampant corruption.

Kenya intends to introduce new anti-corruption legislation, blacklist officials accused of graft and strip licences from banks violating money-laundering rules.

The private sector has also drafted an anti-bribery Bill which, if enacted, will, among other things, blacklist firms that engage in corruption as well punish bribe givers and takers.

“The KRA has been in a trajectory of reform and modernisation in the recent years, but even with the best efforts, the survey showed continued petty bribery,” said Mr Kimeu.

The integrity of the KRA workers has come into focus in the recent past as a biting cash crisis hit the government.

The workers will be subjected to lifestyle audits as part of fresh efforts to stop rampant corruption in the agency that costs the State billions of shillings in revenue leakages.

Separately, a new World Bank report Thursday showed Kenya to have one of the highest rate of corruption amongst all its East African neighbours when it comes to bribes.

About 26.4 per cent of Kenyan firms experienced a request for some kind of payment ‘to get things done’ the report said, rising to 33.4 per cent of firms saying they were expected to give a bribe to secure a government contract.

Only Tanzania – on 66.2 per cent – had a higher figure when it came to firms expecting to pay to secure government contracts, with Rwanda (on 6.9 per cent with regard to bribes) and 11.3 per cent (government contracts) and Ethiopia on (on 6.5 per cent and 6.6 per cent) having the best statistics across the East African region.