Bribe size doubles as Interior named most corrupt ministry

Kenyan currency

Kenyans are paying as much as Sh163,000 to be employed in government.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  •  Ministry of Interior the most bribe-prone ministry 47.1 per cent.
  • The NTSA received the largest share of bribes at 33.6 per cent.

Kenyans are paying as much as Sh163,000 to be employed in government, with the average bribe to access a State service hitting Sh11,685, a new report has revealed, painting a grim picture of a nation whose citizens cannot access services without parting with their hard-earned cash. 

Among those who have to pay the highest amount in bribes are those seeking employment as they have to part with as much as Sh163, 260 on average, followed by those making passport applications at Sh74,428. 

The report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) revealed that the average bribe amount has almost doubled from Sh6,865 in 2022 to the current Sh11,865. 

Among institutions, service seekers paid the largest amount of bribe at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) where they paid an average of Sh81,801.

This was followed by Sh49,611 at the Judiciary and Sh40,000 at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs). In county government offices, Kenyans were asked to part with an average of Sh26,223 before receiving service. 

Those seeking a police abstract are required to part with an average bribe of Sh20, 300 while those seeking tenders and resolution of land conflicts have to part with an average of Sh17,000 and Sh12,673, respectively.

Further, the report shows that over 60 per cent of Kenyans are dissatisfied with the level of integrity and transparency in public services. 

The report released on Wednesday also shows that most of the bribes paid by Kenyans for government services were for passport application at 35.8 per cent, seeking employment in government institutions at 22.1 per cent and bailing out arrested individuals at 10.3 per cent.

The Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government was the most bribe-prone ministry at 47.1 per cent followed by the Ministry of Health at 13.2 per cent and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works at 5.8 per cent.

Among public institutions, NTSA received the largest share of bribes at 33.6 per cent followed by regular police at 20.7 per cent and traffic police at 3.7 per cent.

During the unveiling of the report at the EACC headquarters, commission chairperson, David Oginde, said corruption is becoming endemic in the country and called on government institutions to work closely with the agency to fight corruption.

“We want to work closely with these particular institutions towards helping them where we can to reduce the incidences of corruption and the lack of integrity. We are not here just to condemn, our role is to prevent the occurrence of corruption. We want to provide them with the support they need to deal with the high level of corruptio,” Dr Oginde said.

Nyamira, Baringo, Siaya, Bungoma and Turkana are the top five counties where bribery is most prevalent. Kenyans paid the largest amount of bribe (Sh56,695) in West Pokot, followed by Nairobi (Sh37,768), Murang’a (18,378), Kisii (Sh16,810), Uasin Gishu (Sh11,136), Kitui (Sh9,849), Busia (Sh7,468) and Tharaka-Nithi (Sh7,041).

Nairobi had the largest share of the national bribes at 54.45 per cent, meaning that residents living in the county are more likely to be asked for a bribe when seeking a service.

It was closely followed by West Pokot (13.87 per cent), Uasin Gishu (3.7 per cent) and Kisii (3.16 per cent). 

Tana River and Kilifi counties had the least share of the national bribes at 0.01 per cent each, indicating residents are less likely to be asked for a bribe before receiving a service.

The report released by the anti-corruption watchdog ranked Busia, Baringo, Nairobi, Nakuru and Machakos counties as the five most bribery-prone counties. 

EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak urged government agencies to step up the fight against corruption by eliminating barriers to the delivery of public services. 

“Kenyans are missing out on critical documents such as passports because some of them cannot afford to bribe to receive them. The work of the county and national governments is to improve public services but that is not the case. It is not enough to give an excuse that you did not have printers for the passports.

As an entity, you ought to have put in place an option B to resolve the problem because that is your work,” Mr Mbarak said.

The payment of a bribe had the biggest impact in the delivery of services in Bungoma where residents who paid it were 1.14 times more likely to receive the service than if they did not pay it.

In the Teachers Service Commission, seeking relief food, registration of new vehicles at NTSA and collection of construction approvals, each time a Kenyan paid a bribe, they were more likely to receive a service as compared to when they did not pay a bribe.

“Each time a service is sought in Busia County one is likely to be asked for a bribe 2.02 times.

Each time a service is sought in Baringo, Nairobi, Nakuru and Machakos counties, one is likely to be asked for a bribe 1.34 times, 1.12 times, 1.11 times and 1.09 times, respectively,” the report indicates.

A majority of Kenyans (38.8 per cent) who paid a bribe did so since it was the only way that they would be able to access a government service while 20 per cent did so since it was demanded by those providing the service.

Some 19 per cent of Kenyans paid a bribe to avoid a delay in getting the service they were seeking.

Despite paying a bribe to receive service, 63.8 per cent of Kenyans expressed their dissatisfaction with the service they received, with only 36.2 per cent expressing satisfaction after paying the bribe.

The survey was conducted between October and December 2023 involving a total of 5,100 respondents who are above 18 years old. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used.

Computer Assisted Personal Interviews were also conducted with household heads.