KAMPALA, The Police Force is the most corrupt institution in Uganda followed by officials collecting taxes and government officials, a survey has revealed.
The survey, based on 2,400 Ugandan respondents, puts police at 63% on the corruption index, followed by tax officials and government officials at 48% each. Judges and magistrates follow closely at 45%, the public sector at 44% and business executives at 40%.
The Afrobarometer in conjunction with Transparency International conducted the survey dubbed ‘People and corruption: Africa Survey 2015’ in 36 countries across the Africa region.
Some 69% of the Ugandan respondents said corruption is generally on the increase with 52% saying it increased a lot over the past one year. This is not the first time Uganda Police and Judiciary have been ranked among the top corrupt institutions.
In 2012, the Police Force was named the most corrupt institution in the country in an annual corruption report by the inspectorate of government in collaboration with the Economic Policy Research Center of Makerere University.
Although the rate of bribery within the force reduced from 57.4% to 48% in a space of a year, it still topped other institutions. The judiciary followed at 24.8%, although it also reduced from 49% in 2011.
The 2012 and 2013 Transparency International reports ranked Uganda Police as one of the most corrupt institutions in Uganda and East Africa.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga and his deputy Polly Namaye could not be reached for a comment. But in a recent statement, police Chief Gen. Kale Kayihura said corruption was of great and deep concern to the Force’s leaders, adding that they had set up a team to fight the vice. He also released toll-free number; 200019, 0800199199 and 0800199299 through which the public can report corrupt officers to police's Professional Standards Unit (PSU).
Indeed, 70 police officers were last year arrested over various offences ranging from extortion, bribery and concealing exhibits by PSU. Most of the officers have since been suspended from their duties pending ongoing inquiries.
The inspectorate of government spokesperson, Munira Ali, declined to comment on the report, saying; “ask the police and other implicated institutions.”
Solomon Muyita, the Uganda Judiciary senior communications officer said they had not yet received a copy of the report but added that the judiciary has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption.
“Any body found engaging in acts of corruption is subjected to a disciplinary process and we have had cases where officials found culpable have been given punishments including discontinuation from service,” he explained.
Muyita said the office of the Chief Justice early this year put up toll free lines; 0776709100, 0703707085 and 0794702085 through which members of the public can register their complaints against judicial corrupt officers.
“If we follow up the complaint and find substance in evidence adduced by the complainant, the officer is suspended to allow the disciplinary process take its course,” he said, adding that they have also started installing cameras in court registries to monitor the conduct of officers.
Attempts to get a comment from the Anti- Corruption Coalition Uganda executive director, Cissy Kagaba, on the report were futile.
Besides Uganda, corruption findings from Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya were included in the East African region. When respondents were asked how the Ugandan government was faring in the fight against corruption, 69% said it was doing badly while 26% said it was doing well.
In Kenya 70% said government was doing badly compared to 27% who said it was doing well. In Burundi, 68% said government was doing badly while 27% said it was doing well. In Tanzania, 58% said government was doing badly while 37% said it was doing well.
Kenya and Uganda were found to have bribery rates that are far higher than the East African regional average. Some 38% of the public service users paid a bribe in the last 12 months. The number was 37% in Kenya, 25% in Tanzania and 14% in Burundi.
Between 16-30% of Ugandans pay for services from Police and courts of law just like it the case in Burundi. Kenyans who paid for the same services were ranging between 46-60% while Tanzanians were at 31-45%. Transparency International’s report for 2014 showed that Kenya and Uganda had the highest proportion of respondents, 31% and 46% respectively, saying they paid a bribe as the only way to access services.
In this year’s report, a total of 47% of Ugandans believe ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, 58% in Kenya, 55% in Tanzania and 54% in Burundi.
Hatchile Consult Limited carried out the 2015 survey in Uganda on a sample size of 2,400 respondents while the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi, did it in Kenya on a sample size of 2,397. In Tanzania, REPOA Policy Research for Development did the survey on a sample of 2,386 while GRADIS did it in Burundi on a sample of 1,200.
In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, more than people 43,000 were interviewed in 28 states and generally, business executives are the most corrupt group in Africa after police officers, indicates the survey which was also reported about by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
This is the first time its annual survey ranked businessmen as highly corrupt, Transparency International said. Abuses of power increase poverty and deprive people of basic needs, the anti-corruption watchdog warned.
Poor people were hardest hit as they were almost twice as likely to pay a bribe compared with the more affluent, the BBC reported. Corruption rose in Africa over the past year, with about 75 million of people paying bribes over the last year, the survey said.
The majority of those surveyed - 58% - said that corruption had increased over the past year. Some of these were to escape punishment by the police or courts, but many people were forced to pay "to get access to the basic services that they desperately need."
SOURCE: NEW VISION