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Friday, 31 July 2009

Which is the most Corrupt Party in Ghana?

When they were in opposition the National Democratic Congress [NDC] constantly accused the New Patriotic Party [NPP] of being corrupt and the accusation continued when President Mills government took office. The NPP has been accused by the NDC for appropriating millions of dollars during the celebration of Ghana@50. The NPP has also been accused of making profits from the building of the Jubilee House built to house the presidency. The allegation has forced President Mills to delay moving into House.

The allegations against the NPP seem to go on by the day with P.C. Appiah Ofori a member of the NPP party going public to accuse Members of Parliament belonging to the NPP. He accused them of receiving $5000 each during the sale of Ghana Telecom in which they were asked to vote to support the motion.

NDC also points out that the loan secured by the son of former president Chief Kuffour for the purchase of Hotel Kuffour was made only possible because of his father's position at the time.

NDC members further contend that Dr. Anane corruption saga in which he was investigated and exonerated points to a deep seated corruption practices in the NPP.

NDC says the investigation of Asamoah Boateng over award of contracts in his ministry is a clear manisfestation of what the NPP is best noted for. The arrest of former foreign minister Kwasi Osei-Adjei is another attestation of deep seated corruption in the former ruling party, NDC claims.

The NPP on the other hand has countered the NDC's accusations by pointing to the massive corruption scandals that marked the 11 years of PNDC and 8 years of NDC rule. They point to recent revelations that suggest the NDC transition team spent a whopping 3.61 billion cedis on tea and water within two months. In I told you so style members of the NPP say NDC is only a reflection of an advanced cancer that cannot be cured. They point to recent media report that the NDC spent one million new Ghanaian cedis (about 10 billion old Ghana cedis) during President Obama's visit and question how the NDC could spend such amount in just under 24 hours.

NPP also points to revelations in Nigeria and Ghana newspapers that the Governor of Rivers State of Nigeria Mr. Rotimi Amaechi paid $3.5 million to ex-President Rawlings which was used to bankroll NDC 2008 election campaign that brought them victory.

NPP says the NDC is like a pot calling the kettle black and points to recent information in public domain that Mahama Ayariga the spokesperson for President Mills has illegally acquired five tractors meant for poor Ghanaian farmers. NPP say Ayariga took five tractors meant for underprivileged farmers and paid for only one whose price was further reduced for him.

NPP says the NDC top brass should shut up their buccal cavity because they have no moral right to accuse its members of corruption. Members of NPP claim that NDC shady deals are everywhere for Ghanaians to see.

They have accused Muntaka of using his office as a charity office for his family buying pampas, khebab and travelling around with his girl friend at the cost of Ghanaian tax payer. They point to Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak as an embodiment of NDC corruption.

The NPP further points to an ongoing corruption trial in Southwark Crown Court, London, United Kingdom in which a tiny family company called Mabey & Johnson of UK is believed to have paid $6 million to NDC party gurus in exchange for contracts. It has been revealed that the said corruption took place between 1994 and 1999 at a time when the current of the republic President Atta Mills was vice president with Rawlings as president.

NPP says corruption allegation levelled at current Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni is only a tip of a herculian problem and a practice which is so common in the NDC. NPP says an audit report from the Auditor Generals Office implicating Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni in financial malfeasance and wrong-doing makes the NDC and the government of Fiifi Mills a laughing stock international community especially when it comes to negotiations in financial matters.

And as if that is not enough Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary of the NPP in a hot exchange with Kofi Adams called on Jerry Rawlings (the founder and a key member of NDC), to come clean if he is not corrupt. Nana Ohene-Ntow told Adams who doubles as the spokesperson for Rawlings and NDC Deputy Youth Organiser, "he [Rawlings] should tell Ghanaians how he got money to build his mansion at Agyirigannon, how he financed his children's fees abroad, and those who provided him the 4 wheel drive vehicles.If he fails to provide the hard facts, he should desist from disturbing the peace of this country".

With no ending sight to accusations and counter accusations of corruption in Ghana it is only the people of Ghana who can be a good judge in determing which party could be considered most corrupt in the country.

By Lord Aikins Adusei

Blow to World Bank

By Andrew Jack in London

Published: April 30 2009 19:03 | Last updated: April 30 2009 19:03

A third of the World Bank’s support for health, nutrition and population programmes over the past decade has been unsatisfactory, the multilateral agency’s own evaluation unit concluded on Thursday.

Out of $17bn (€12.9bn, £11.5bn) in support to countries, only two-thirds had satisfactory outcomes, with many projects marred by inadequate risk assessment, weak monitoring and evaluation, and lack of accountability, said its Independent Evaluation Group.

”A weak start” also undermined $873m invested by the International Finance Corporation, its private sector arm, over the period 1997-2008, with ”important gaps” remaining despite a marked improvement.

The analysis was seized on by non-governmental organisations which have long criticised donors for supporting the World Bank, which they claim lacks adequate accountability and supports private sector solutions they believe are ineffective.

The evaluation stressed that the World Bank’s support had helped strengthen governments’ capacity, that it was often working in difficult environments and that it had ”a unique and substantial” ability to improve outcomes for the poor.

But it called for greater attention to reducing high fertility and malnutrition, a redoubling of efforts to help the poor, and greater moves to reinforce its accountability. It said evaluation was ”almost non-existent” and warned that ”excessive earmarking” of support for communicable diseases risked weakening health systems.

Oxfam, the development charity, said the evaluation undermined claims by the World Bank to be a leader in health provision for the poor and an emphasis on private sector solutions.

Emma Seery, head of essential services, said: ”This calls into question the UK government’s decision to make the World Bank a central part of their efforts to improve health services in poor countries when other players like the Global Fund are doing a much better job and saving millions of lives.”

Rachel Baggaley, head of HIV at Christian Aid, said: ”’The report states that 82 per cent of the World Bank’s free standing HIV projects in Africa were not successful. Compare this to the results of the Global Fund and it is very clear where the UK government should be putting its aid money.”

The World Bank said it agreed with many of the criticisms and had already made changes in a new strategy adopted in 2007. It added that health was a complex field, but that if people were suffering and dying, it did not have the option of delay.

It said it was tripling its commitment to the sector to $3bn in the current fiscal year, with a particular focus on strengthening health systems.

Nigeria MP panel in fraud charge

Torch in Nigeria
Many Nigerians don't have a reliable source of electricity

Members of the Nigerian National Assembly in charge of investigating the country's electricity crisis have been charged with fraud.

Four MPs and six officials denied siphoning off $42m of public funds in a hearing that stretched over two days.

Each of the defendants had to rise 130 times to answer "not guilty".

The MPs had looked into why there was so little to show for the $16bn (£11bn) of investment in the power sector under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Their report implicated the ex-president, but a second panel set up to look at their findings recently cleared him and others in charge of power generation between 1999 and 2007 of the allegations.

Currently generates less than 1,000MW down from 3,500MW in 2008
Nigeria wants to generate 6,000MW by the end of 2009
In 12 years it wants to be able to generate 20,000MW
Would need 100,000MW to become an industrialised economy, according to the ex-president
Six power stations begun under the last administration have not been completed
$16bn has so far been spent on the power sector since 1999

Senator Nicholas Ugbade - chairman of Senate Committee on Power - his House of Representatives counterpart Ndudi Elumelu, two other MPs and six government officials are accused of taking money from the Central Bank meant for local power projects.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says that in December 2008, just after the MPs concluded their investigation into the power sector, they funnelled the cash into a range of front companies.

They deny the charges.

At the time of the investigation some commentators said it was part of a series of probes into the recently retired President Obasanjo which amounted to a "witch hunt".

But the probe painted a damning picture of the country's management of electricity generation over the last 10 years.

Experts testified to the committee that expensive turbines were rotting in Nigerian ports because the people who ordered them had no way of transporting the heavy equipment to the site of the power station.

The committee heard that other turbines were installed, but no-one had planned how they would be fuelled with gas as the country had sold all its supply for the next 16 years to international oil and gas companies.

The committee also uncovered several shady deals between high-ranking politicians and private companies where they failed to build contracted power stations.

'Never seen light'

But local media has reported that the panel reviewing that investigation concluded there was no money missing, as the Central Bank still held letters of credit meant for the contracts.

The second report, yet to be made public or debated by the House of Assembly, accuses the authors of the previous investigation of holding "personal vendettas" against the former president.

Nigeria generates less than 1,000 megawatts (MW) for a population of 140 million.

In large cities blackouts are a daily occurrence, and some areas have "never seen light" as people say in Nigerian pidgin.

Those who can afford it rely on generators.

Large scale business and industry in the country is almost impossible because of the power generation problem, correspondents say.


ZAMBIA: Health funding frozen after corruption alleged

Photo: Anthony Morland/IRIN
Over US$2 million has allegedly been embezzled from the health ministry
LUSAKA, 27 May 2009 (PlusNews) - Foreign aid for government health projects in Zambia, where most of the national health budget is donor-funded, was frozen last week after allegations of corruption.

The governments of the Netherlands and Sweden announced they had suspended aid after a whistleblower alerted Zambia's Anti-Corruption Commission [ACC] to the embezzlement of over US$2 million from the health ministry by top government officials.

"The misuse of Dutch taxpayers' money is unacceptable," said Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders in a statement, adding that Dutch aid would be put on hold until the ACC and Zambia's Auditor General released the findings from their investigations.

Donors fund 55 percent of the country's health budget. The Dutch government, the largest supporter of Zambia's tuberculosis (TB) programme, contributes about 13 million euros (US$18 million) annually to rural healthcare, preventing malaria, TB and HIV, and training medical staff.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) had earmarked 88 million kroner (about $12 million) for Zambia's health ministry before the scandal broke, but will now await the ACC's findings before releasing the funds. "SIDA will not accept any abuse of development money," Charlotta Norrby, head of SIDA in Zambia, told local media.

Nkandu Luo, a former health minister, told IRIN/PlusNews that the suspension of funding could compromise the health of many Zambians: "This decision by donors is a crisis and it's important [to] address the concerns of the donors ... and restore support to the Ministry of Health."

But government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha said it was still not clear whether the money in question included donor funds. "Government is currently engaging donors on the revelations concerning the plunder of public resources in the Ministry of Health," he told IRIN/PlusNews. "We want to ensure that operations go on smoothly and the poor people, for whom that aid is meant, do not suffer."

He said the government was working hard to make certain that all the culprits were brought to book and the stolen money recovered, and urged the donor community to "help us to make our system more transparent ... to ensure that this sad development does not repeat itself in the future."

Read more:
Falling foul of the Fund
Corruption could harm HIV/AIDS efforts
Corruption, erratic drug supply threatens TB treatment
Donors call the shots in HIV/AIDS sector
About 14 percent of Zambia's 11.7 million people are HIV positive, and about half the estimated 300,000 people in need of antiretroviral (ARV) medication obtain it from government clinics and hospitals.

"HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest challenges that we have in the country, and the programmes will be affected - there is very little money coming from our government," said Luo.

"The suspension of donor aid ... will affect service delivery," agreed Swebby Macha, president of the Zambia Medical Association. "Especially in the areas of drug supply and equipment, preventive programmes of HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and the rural retention scheme for our health workers. As things stand ... the government will have to run the health sector with 45 percent funding."

Shikapwasha said it was too soon to say what impact the suspension of donor funding would have on the health sector, but Georgina Mutila, an HIV-positive widow in the capital, Lusaka, said she was "very much afraid" that the supply of free ARV and TB drugs would be affected. "Our friends who have money might afford to buy ARVs, but for some of us that will be a problem."

President Rupiah Banda, who was voted into office in October 2008 after the death of his predecessor, Levy Mwanawasa, has repeatedly been accused of being soft on corruption.

Mwanawasa's anti-corruption drive endeared him to Western donors and in 2005 Zambia's $7.2 billion external debt was slashed to barely $500 million after his government achieved the benchmarks for fiscal discipline and good governance set by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) Aid Policy, (PLUSNEWS) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (PLUSNEWS)Governance, (PLUSNEWS) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)


World Bank Corruption

By Emily Schwartz Greco

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Foreign Policy In Focus

Editor's note: Click here to read the full report.

The International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank that makes grants and interest-free, long-term loans to poor countries around the world, lacks effective safeguards against corruption, according to a report by the Bank's own Independent Evaluation Group (IEG). The report concluded that IDA, which currently lends and grants about $10 billion annually to governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, doesn't protect its funds adequately from theft and diversion.

This damning report couldn't come at a more awkward time. The G20 in early April called on the World Bank to step up its lending to cope with the global economic crisis, and the acceleration has already begun. With such streamlining of loan and grant approval, there's an even greater chance of corruption escaping detection.

The IEG report was released with little fanfare in mid-April, buried deep in the World Bank website. The crucial section about failure on anti-corruption measures was buried deeper still in Volume II, Annex D (click here to see Vol. II).

Material Weakness

The document revealed that the lack of safeguards at IDA rises to the level of a "material weakness," the most serious of financial accounting failings. The finding, reached by the IEG together with an international advisory panel that included independent auditors from Australia, Norway, and India, was released to the public only after a pitched and protracted battle with the Bank's management — which fought mightily to avoid disclosure.

Still, the facts of the matter were clear: After 13 years of rhetoric deploring fraud and corruption, the World Bank's management hasn't even minimally equipped its staff to protect IDA funds. For example, according to the IEG review: The Country Assistance Strategy (the Bank's three-year business plan for each nation in which it sets priorities) and strategy papers on priorities for economic sectors "have not systematically and seriously addressed fraud and corruption risk at the country level."

Moreover, most of the Bank's anti-corruption efforts have been confined to high-level speeches and analytical studies. James Wolfensohn, the World Bank's president from 1995 to 2005, kicked off the campaign with his "Cancer of Corruption" speech in 1996. Paul Wolfowitz, the next president followed suit, announcing a "three-pronged plan" to achieve five objectives in the fight against corruption. To date, according to the IEG review, project designs don't address the risk of fraud, nor do guidelines for project supervision, financial management or procurement. And although the Bank's lending to bridge the gaps in national budgets requires assessments of fraud and corruption, real safeguards are lacking. In other words, there's a program on paper but very little in practice.

Vietnam and India

Since its establishment in 1960, IDA's loans and grants have totaled over $193 billion, and indications are that the global financial crisis will provide a rationale for increasing annual lending. During the Bank's last fiscal year, Vietnam and India were the two top beneficiaries of IDA funds: Vietnam borrowed nearly $1.2 billion and India received over $800 million, although both countries had been previously assessed in separate reviews as running projects with a high probability of corruption.

The World Bank assessed India's health care projects for corruption risk in 2006 and found that five of five projects were spectacularly vulnerable to fraud. In a "Detailed Implementation Review" (DIR) (a World Bank process for assessing fraud and corruption), the Bank found:

  • Procurement deficiencies, including collusion, bid rigging, bribery and manipulation of records.
  • Implementation deficiencies, such as deficient work certified as complete, broken, damaged equipment certified as compliant, under-delivery of services.
  • Oversight deficiencies, including inadequate financial, audit and internal controls both by GOI [Government of India] and [the]Bank.

A similar review of two of Vietnam's infrastructure projects found "a proliferation of indicators of collusion, fraud, misrepresentation and preferential treatment in the procurement and award of contracts. The DIR also found vulnerabilities to irregularities in the projects' financial management activities and control environment. Lastly, a large number of the project sites visited by the DIR team showed design and construction irregularities in works."

In the wake of these reports, India's Ministry of Health, the counterpart of the projects identified with a high likelihood of corruption, received another $521 million credit, while the Bank's Board of Directors approved an additional $322 million for infrastructure and roads projects in Vietnam.

Typically, the Bank's management reacts to findings of shortcomings and ineffectiveness in ways designed to obscure the message. In this case, the communications team developed a hair-splitting explanation that conveys the wrong impression unless read carefully. After it released the Vietnam corruption report, Martin Rama, the Bank's acting director in Hanoi, told a news conference: "The DIR found no evidence supporting allegations of fraud and corruption against the PMU (Project Management Unit) 18 officials." In a strict sense, the statement is true, but the fact is that the DIR found no such evidence because it is not designed to look for any. As the Bank's website explains: "A DIR assesses the likelihood of fraud, corruption and mismanagement in Bank-financed projects" while "An investigation determines whether an allegation is substantiated, unsubstantiated or unfounded." In other words, the DIR only makes the allegations; in order to find evidence supporting them, the Bank would have had to follow up with an investigation.

In the Indian case, both the government of India and Bank management attacked those who carried out the DIR as well as their message, claiming, among other things, that one internationally recognized reviewer was incompetent and mistaken and that irregularities identified had already been addressed when they had not.


In short, the depth and breadth of the accountability weaknesses exposed at IDA are alarming.

Yet, the Bank's management claimed that the accountability flaws the report about IDA flagged are now being addressed on three fronts. First, the recommendations of the Volcker Panel, which reviewed the performance of the Bank's investigative unit in 2007, have been implemented. Second, the Bank's Board approved a whistleblower protection policy in June, 2008. Finally, implementation of the Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy (GAC) began in January 2008 and has been progressively integrated into lending and projects.

None of these claims, however, withstands scrutiny. The Volcker Panel, for example, insisted that corruption be effectively addressed through a "fully coordinated approach across the entire World Bank Group, ending past ambivalence about the importance of combating corruption." Yet the IEG report itself shows that this is precisely what management has not done:

  • Basic project and lending documents don't include a requirement to assess the risks of fraud and corruption;
  • Safeguards against corruption don't exist for budget support loans, perhaps the most vulnerable of IDA funds;
  • Staff members haven't been adequately trained to recognize signs of corruption in projects; performance appraisals include incentives to report corruption;
  • Management routinely fails to take timely actions to follow up on audit, investigatory, and evaluation findings of impropriety.

Nor is the whistleblower protection policy effective. Would-be whistleblowers informed IEG that they fear they are risking their careers at the Bank if they report fraud. Further, staff members in the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), the unit specifically responsible for investigating corruption, reported more than the staff of any other unit that: "[S]eeking out [fraud and corruption] issues in projects and reporting on observed improprieties may lead to reprisals from their managers, and managerial signals and behavior are not always consistent with these messages. Overall, mixed messages and ambivalence are still considered prevalent."

Further, a close reading of the whistleblower policy shows that it incorporates coverage loopholes, unrealistic caps on compensation for vindicated whistleblowers, and unjustifiable reporting restrictions. As a result, nearly one year after the Board approved the protection policy, there are virtually no whistleblower cases under investigation at the Bank, despite reports of both widespread corruption and retaliation.

The third World Bank effort mentioned prominently in the IEG report as providing future protection for IDA funds is the Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy (GAC). But the GAC's own implementation report, released in December 2008, revealed that management lacked an institutional commitment to the strategy: "Senior Bank leadership should overcome current problems within the Bank of ad hoc responses and ambivalence about the GAC mission…with clear statements about institutional and individual responsibility and accountability." The implementation report concluded that the GAC strategy was not integrated effectively into Bank operations

Who Can You Call?

Although the IEG didn't signal it, an additional procedural weakness makes IDA funds, and in fact all Bank funds, vulnerable to corruption. Criminal conduct, such as theft, bribery and fraud, isn't prosecutable by the Bank. INT investigates criminal allegations for the purpose of debarring corrupt firms or individuals from future Bank work. The likelihood of recovering funds is extremely remote, and national authorities are dependent on information from the World Bank and from INT if they are to prosecute. Recent allegations of criminal misconduct involving Bank funds indicate that the Bank has no uniform procedures for referring cases to national authorities. If such procedures do exist, Bank management is unwilling to divulge them and the public has no right to information about them.

In effect, then, IDA funds are vulnerable to fraud and corruption from all directions. First, safeguards aren't in place at either the country or the project level. IDA funds aren't protected with preventive measures that systematically flag signs of improprieties. Next, Bank staff members working on vulnerable projects are intimidated and hesitant to allege fraud and corruption even when they suspect it. If project staff simply keep the disbursements moving, there are no questions asked. If they slow or suspend disbursements when suspicions of corruption arise, they must respond to an avalanche of paperwork and pressure. Third, investigators, when alerted to possible wrongdoing, are reluctant to find it for fear of reprisal. Finally, the Bank doesn't appear to cooperate systematically with national law enforcement agencies.

The IEG has made it clear that the Bank isn't equipped to ensure that its billions in IDA aid don't wind up in the wrong bank accounts. After more than a decade of posturing and preaching about the corrosive effect of corruption on development, Bank management should focus on the practicalities of actually addressing it.

Moving Forward

To begin, there are clear, low-cost and no-cost steps that management could take:

  • Build anti-corruption safeguards into project design, supervision, and procurement.
  • Train project staff to recognize signs of corruption in Bank projects.
  • Protect whistleblowers from reprisal when they come forward and discipline retaliators.
  • Ensure that investigators, particularly, are shielded from retaliation when they pursue allegations of fraud and that they are empowered to cooperate with their national counterparts when criminal investigations are warranted.

But the World Bank's management doesn't need outside advice on how to handle corruption. Managers there know much more about it than almost anyone else. And, in most cases, bid-rigging, collusion, and bribery aren't that hard to spot. The real problem at the Bank is a failure of will at the top. The Government Accountability Project (where I work), for example, found that Wolfensohn — while flogging anti-corruption measures on the one hand — silenced staff members who tried to warn investors that an international criminal was hijacking a privatization scheme in Azerbaijan. And Wolfowitz, while touring Africa preaching anti-corruption, was feathering his girlfriend's nest and quietly suppressing an INT report that showed Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, allowing his girlfriend to feather hers with the World Bank's money. Not incidentally, the funds she took were intended to finance airlifts to transfer Congolese children from war zones.

The Bank has been very adept at promoting the impression that corruption is a problem now being addressed. This is, quite simply, not the case. Fundamentally, nothing has changed since the talk began. Bureaucratic layers of "review" have been added and the speeches continue. There are implementation strategies and disclosure consultations. But there isn't any discipline, no real deterrent, and no penalty for criminal conduct. Even more notable, for the most part, the IEG report exposing this has gotten very little attention from those who could do something about it.

Bea Edwards is the Government Accountability Project's International Program Director and a Foreign Policy In Focus contributor.

Liberia aid workers 'stole $1m'

Food aid being delivered
Some food aid did get through to the people who needed it

A US-based international Christian relief organisation says it believes more than 90% of its aid to Liberia went missing in a massive fraud scam.

World Vision's Vice-President George Ward told the BBC the losses came to more than $1m and pledged to make "every effort" to avoid a repeat.

A former senior World Vision official in Liberia and two other workers have been charged over the alleged fraud.

They are accused of selling the food in local markets and keeping the profits.

They are also alleged to have used construction materials to build themselves multiple homes using labour provided by US-funded aid workers.

Joe Bondo, a Liberian who was a manager on the project, has been in a Washington jail since his arrest on 20 May.

The Associated Press reports that Mr Bondo, along with two other officials, have been charged with 12 criminal counts, which include fraud, theft, lying to investigators and witness tampering.


The scam allegedly began in 2005, as Liberia emerged from 14 years of civil war that claimed some 300,000 lives, displaced more than three million people and left the country's infrastructure and economy in tatters.

World Vision is said to have received an anonymous tip-off about the fraud in early 2007, and sent auditors to 258 Liberian towns believed to be benefitting from the programme.

Mr Ward told the BBC's Network Africa programme that they could only establish that 9% of the food aid had reached the intended recipients. The AP reports that 34 of the towns did not even exist.

Documentation showing receipt of food aid had been "falsified in the offices of World Vision in Liberia in a very large way," Mr Ward explained.

He said the organisation had now tightened its procedures - including launching a hotline for people to report any wrongdoing - to make such frauds more easily detectable in future.

"We cannot guarantee of course that fraud will never happen again," he told the BBC.

"But we can guarantee that we make every effort to ensure that every dollar, every pound sterling, every euro contributed to World Vision is used in the best possible way and we have an excellent track record in that regard."


Kenya most corrupt country in East Africa, says poll

A SURVEY by an anti-graft watchdog has found Kenya east Africa's most graft-prone nation with a bribe expected or solicited in nearly half of all transactions, followed by Uganda and Tanzania.

The inaugural East Africa Bribery Index, according to Reuters yesterday, showed Kenya's police force was the most corrupt public institution with 66.5 per cent bribery rate.

The index focused on seven bribery indicators: likelihood of encountering bribery, the prevalence, severity, frequency and impact of bribery, the average size of the bribe and the contribution of bribery to an organisation's income.

Measured on those criteria, Kenya's overall bribery rate was 45 per cent, Uganda's 35 per cent and Tanzania's 17 per cent.

The survey was commissioned by the Kenya division of Transparency International (TI), which has been publishing a separate bribery index for Kenya since 2002.

"The ranking of key public service delivery agencies ... shows that the public service in east Africa is riddled with corruption," said Job Ogonda, the group's executive director.

Corruption and red tape were cited as a headache by east African corporate bosses in a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers published in April.

The World Bank says higher costs for businesses due to corruption, as well as poor infrastructure or insecurity, are "invisible costs" that can hit competitivity with other regions in the world.

Kenya's police force has dominated the Kenyan bribery index since it was first published.

Kenyans expect to being asked for bribes, known as "kitu kidogo" - a little something - to get most services, and so they rarely report such incidents.

Tanzania's police was ranked second most corrupt public institution with a 62.6 per cent bribery rate followed by Kenya's Ministry of Defence on 61.9 per cent and Tanzania's judiciary and courts on 61.5 per cent.

The least corrupt public institution was Uganda's Postal Corporation with a rate of 2.3 per cent.

The survey was compiled from responses from 10,517 people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

High unemployment and a harsh economic climate also contributed to an increase in bribery, said Ogonda, as candidates buy their way into a highly competitive jobs market.

"Cases of unemployment-related bribery in Kenya rose from six per cent in 2008 to 11 per cent in 2009 ... Tanzania, 41 per cent of the total value of bribes paid were for employment related issues," he said.

Kenya is the region's economic powerhouse with a gross domestic product of $35 billion. Growth plunged to 1.7 per cent in 2008 from 7.1 percent in 2007 due to post-election violence, bad weather and the global slowdown.

Tanzania's growth will slow to 5 percent in 2009, a Reuters' poll showed, while Ugandan growth is seen slowing to 5.5 per cent in 2009

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