The annual research known as Rwanda Bribery Index (RBI) is conducted to analyze the prevalence of bribery. Research outcomes were virtually presented on 28th January 2021 due to ongoing Coronavirus health guidelines.
The research showed that the prevalence of bribery among local leaders has extremely risen from 2.51% in 2019 to 4.90% in 2020 bringing local government entities on the 5th place among top corrupt institutions following Police traffic department, Private Sector, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and WASAC.
Despite the 5th place, the local government entities are however reported to have received hugest amount of bribes totaling to 74, 37% of all bribes taken last year.
The report shows that taken bribes are totaled to Rwf 19,213,188 of which Rwf 14,288,500 (74,37%) was received by local government entities.
As she presented research outcomes on Radio 10, the Chairperson of TI-RW, Ingabire Marie Immaculée explained that the rise in bribes among local government entities is due to the fact that local leaders were at the forefront of enforcing of COVID-19 preventive measures which provided a loophole for bribery.
“Corruption mostly upsurged by giving bribes to be allowed to breach COVID-19 prevention measures to run activities or move freely. These include allowing bars to operate as restaurants and shops within communities to continue activities violating curfew hours,” she said.
Ingabire explained that all these businesses operate beyond deadline hours or run bars camouflaged as restaurants because they bribed local leaders to remain silent.
Apart from COVID-19 loopholes, local leaders are also reported to take bribes while issuing land possession documents and in Girinka program among others.
Seeking quick service delivery, illegal services, evading the total cost of a particular service or offering bribes as the only alternative to get services are among top reasons people attributed to offering bribes.
The research also proved that 88, 1% of respondents in 2020 up from 86,8% in 2019 were reluctant to provide bribery related information which is considered a barrier to eradicating it.
Lack of knowledge of where to report bribery cases; fear to conflict with leaders, assuming that people gathering bribery information are corrupted are among other factors pushing people to remain silent.
In order to find a durable solution, Ingabire recommended zero tolerance to anyone reported in bribery cases and promoting technology in many possible services. He also encouraged the general public to be actively engaged in the fight against corruption and provide information whenever they are asked to give bribes.