February 23, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
A new survey report on ‘women and corruption’ was launched last Friday by Transparency International Sierra Leone, underscoring that government institutions continue to demand and receive more bribes.
The survey targeted around five hundred respondents with women being in the majority, with the use of questionnaires largely.
According to the report, seventy-five percent of government institutions demand and receive more bribes, compared to private or other institutions.
It also states that more people pay bribes especially for education related services, followed by health services and law enforcement agencies such as the police force (20.9%).
The report also indicates that corruption affects women tremendously and is a major challenge to women’s empowerment, in that it reduces access to and control over resources and undermines access to quality social services like education and health.
Making a statement during the launch of the report, Thomas Babadi, a civil society activist, said the report of Transparency International brings several government institutions to book, commending the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for the stride it has made so far in fighting graft.
He opined that women are the least corrupt in society considering their proportion in top offices, and appealed to the anti-graft agency to form a monitoring team.
Glenis Frazer, from the ACC Outreach Department, thanked Transparency International for publishing the report, noting that it was timely. “This report would not have come at any better time than now. This is the kind of work the ACC is looking forward to as it informs us about the task ahead of us and which way we should go,” Ms. Frazer said.
She maintained that women could make a difference in the fight against corruption. “Corruption is rife in most places and it is becoming worrisome,” she noted.
The report proffers several recommendations, key among which is the need for massive awareness raising, sensitization and capacity building of women, especially those in rural communities, on what corruption is all about, its negative effects and how to effectively resist it, among others.
“There is need for the establishment of a women’s movement at national and local levels to campaign against corrupt acts,” the report recommends.