Tanzania’s police have been ranked the most corrupt in the East African Community, according to a new report by the Transparency International.
The East Africa Bribery Index (EABI) 2013 report says police services across the region took the last five positions as the most bribery prone public institutions.
Tanzania’s law enforcement agencies scored 72.9 per cent in bribery aggregation, followed by Kenya (70.7 per cent), Burundi (64 per cent), Uganda (60 per cent) and Rwanda (54 per cent), the report notes.
However, Tanzania police spokesperson Advera Senso said the report may not portray an accurate picture, as she was not acquainted with the methodology of the study.
Ms Senso said the report findings may be largely informed by popular negative perceptions about the institutions.
“For instance, when people see a suspect released in short hours after being arrested, they conclude that the police have taken bribes, without knowing that there are some cases that a suspect can be released on bail even immediately,” she said.
Others say the report says nothing new.
Dr Edward Hosea, the director of the country’s anti-corruption bureau, said it has been known for a long time that the police is the most corrupt public institution in Tanzania.
In fact, he adds, a survey last year by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau found the police to be the most corrupt institution in the country.
“Bribery remains a key challenge for Tanzania when people seek public service” Mr Bubelwa Kaiza, a director with a local NGO that co-wrote the report, said.
Mr Kaiza said it was disturbing that the police, the judiciary and the tax agency ranked among the most corrupt institutions across all the EAC members.
In Tanzania, the Judiciary was the second most corrupt institution scoring 38.3 per cent, followed by the tax agency (36.9), and land services (26.9 per cent.
Their own volition
Others on the list are medical services (22.0 per cent), registry and licensing services (21.6 per cent), public utilities (15.4 per cent), city & local councils (15.1 per cent) and educational institutions (12.5 per cent).
“Law enforcement and the justice system are very key institutions in this country and region, we should not let bribery compromise on this,” he said.
The survey established that the highest average size of bribe in Tanzania was paid in the tax services sector at $8,713.
The police, though leading in bribery aggregation, had a lower average size of bribes paid at $35.
However, on average across all bribery affected sectors in EAC, Tanzania had improved by one rank, from second last year to third position this year in the EABI.
Burundi worsened by moving two spots up to take position two with an aggregate of 18.6 per cent as compared to the results last year.
The aggregate likelihood of bribery was highest in Uganda where a citizen seeking state services encounters the highest likelihood of bribery at 26.8 per cent.
That was the same position held last year but with a higher aggregate.
Tanzania (12.9 per cent) came in at third while Kenya was fourth (7.9 per cent) with each moving down a spot, again with relatively lower aggregates.
Rwanda remains at position five but was the only country in the region that had an increased aggregate, 4.4 per cent, up from 2.5 per cent in 2012.
The survey noted that in terms of offering to pay a bribe on their own volition, Tanzanians come second at 11 per cent after Burundians (13 per cent).