Ugandans are more likely to pay a bribe to access a service in public offices more than in any other country in the region, according to the East Africa Bribery Index 2013.
The survey carried out by Transparency International in the five East African Community countries of Burundi, Kenya Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda puts Uganda in the lead with 26.8 percent followed by Burundi at 18.6%. Tanzania comes in third place at 12.9% and Kenya at 7.9%. Rwanda was the lowest at 4.4% in likelihood of encountering bribery.
Uganda took the same position in 2012 but with a higher aggregate of 40.7 percent followed by Tanzania at 39.1 percent.
The police was the most bribery prone institution in Uganda at 60%. Land services and the Judiciary came in at position two and three, with an aggregate score of 46.7 and 42.0 respectively. Educational institutions and the utilities sector were ranked lowest.
Land services followed by Registry and licensing services recorded the highest likelihood of a respondent encountering a bribery incidence while seeking a service at 34.8% and 33.7% respectively.
The 2013 East African Bribery Index appreciates Uganda’s laws aimed at curbing corruption such as Whistle Blowers Act 2010, The Audit Act 2009, Access to Information Act 2005, Anti-corruption Act 2009, the Public Finance and Accountability Act, and the Budget Act among others.
However, weak enforcement of the existing laws and weak operations of the existing institutions remains the biggest challenge. There have been cases of imbalance between political interests and the enforcement in the fight against corruption, as well as constraints of inadequate co-operation from the general public in reporting corruption practices and being witnesses in court against corruption suspects, according to the survey.
The report further says the lack of implementation has given rise to impunity as evidenced by the recent embezzlement scandals that surrounded the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda.
The Police was ranked first at 47.8% as institution with the highest prevalence followed by city and local councils at 39.7% and land services at 37.7%. The utilities sector recorded the lowest prevalence of bribe.
The Judiciary recorded the highest average size of bribe that respondents had to part with in order to get a service at 351,000 shillings .This was a substantial decrease from last year where the average was over 500,000 shillings. This was also the highest amount recorded for the Judiciary across the region.
Tax and Land services also recorded huge amounts of bribe at over 270,000 shillings and 218,000 shillings respectively.
The Police took the largest share of national bribe at 27.0 percent followed by the Judiciary at 18.1 and Land services at 14.1 percent.