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 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 11:26 GMT
Cheaper bribes for Kenyans
A policeman stops a minibus driver
Corruption oils the wheels in Kenyan society

A survey conducted in Kenya by a corruption watchdog has found that ordinary Kenyans were forced to pay less money in bribes last year than in the previous year.

The battle against corruption in Kenya is well and truly underway

TI researcher David Ndii
The survey by Transparency International said that ordinary Kenyans had become emboldened and were beginning to challenge the culture of bribe-taking.

But the survey said that the likelihood of ordinary Kenyans being asked for a bribe remained extremely high.

The new government, which came to power after elections last December, has promised to stamp down on corruption, which has affected all levels of Kenyan life.

Cheaper bribes

The bad news for Kenyans, according to TI, is that two out of every three encounters with a public official still involves a bribe.

President Mwai Kibaki
Kibaki was elected on an anti-corruption platform
The good news, it says, is that those demanding the bribes are now pocketing less money because the public is beginning to say no.

And if someone does refuse to pay, the person demanding the bribe, instead of causing misery, is sometimes backing down.

This is the second TI survey conducted in Kenya and researcher David Ndii says that they give evidence to embolden the public to come out and point fingers at particular organisations.

'Emboldened'

"That seems to be the main thing driving what we observe to be a decline in the level of impunity with which public officials are able to extract bribes from ordinary people.

"The battle against corruption in Kenya is well and truly underway," he says.

John Githongo
An ex-TI official is the new government's anti-corruption czar
The survey found that the police were still the main culprits when it comes to demanding bribes, followed by the immigration department.

It said that while some organisations systematically shook down the public for money, there was also opportunistic bribing.

A ban on logging, for example, had led to an increase in bribery in the forestry department.

And people in rural areas responding to a big recruitment drive by the armed services were asked to part with money for the privilege of signing up.

But singled out for being much improved was Kenya's Post Office.

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