Corruption is still rife in Africa, Sierra Leone


….says Transparency International

December 1, 2015 

A new Transparency International survey titled “People and Corruption: Africa Survey2015” states that majority of Africans think that the vice has risen on the continent in the last 12 months and that most governments are seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals.

The report, which is part of the Global Corruption Barometer, in which Transparency International and Afrobarometer partner to produce, spoke to 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 to ask them about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country.

The report says 58 per cent of Africans in the surveyed countries say corruption has increased over the past 12 months, and that in 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption.

However, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal are singled out as bacons of hope in the fight against corruption on the continent.

“Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country. 22 per cent of people that have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid a bribe,” notes the report.
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“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation. We call on governments and judges to stop corruption, eradicate impunity and implement Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to curb corruption. We also call on the people to demand honesty and transparency, and mobilize against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt,” said Transparency International Chair José Ugaz.

The report states that corruption reporting mechanisms are often seen as too dangerous, ineffective or unclear, as “More than 1 out of 3 Africans thinks that a whistleblower faces negative consequences for reporting corruption, which is why most people don’t report.”

A citizens’ scorecard which gives an overview of corruption in Sierra Leone rates the country bottom, surpassed by Uganda, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria who complete the unenviable class of last five on the list of shame.

The Transparency International report states that citizens surveyed regard the anti-corruption performance of the government and the country’s corruption risks as “negative/high”.

Accordingly, citizens surveyed perceive that the level of corruption in the country has not changed, that the public sector is highly corrupt, while also rating government’s effort to fight corruption as “negative”. Many of the respondents admitted to have paid bribes while many citizens feel less empowered to fight corruption.

The survey notes that 48 percent of respondents think there is corruption in the presidency, with 50 percent of the perception that Members of Parliament are corrupt.

55 percent of those surveyed perceive government officials as corrupt, 49 percent regard local councils as corrupt, and 59 percent say the police are corrupt, the highest on the scorecard.

Also, 49 percent say tax officials are corrupt, 47 percent rate Judges and Magistrates as corrupt and 35 percent think traditional leaders are corrupt.

In addition, 25 percent say religious leaders are corrupt, 53 percent are of the view that business executives are corrupt, while 51 percent regard public sector workers as corrupt.

A significant majority, 70 percent of the respondents, think corruption is on the increase in the country, with just a paltry 5 percent holding that graft is on the decrease.

Sierra Leone has performed poorly in several corruption indices in recent times despite claims by the Anti-Corruption that it was ahead in the fight to beat graft. The country could only qualify for the threshold of the United States sponsored Millennium Challenge Corporation, scooping US$44.4 million as a result, a paltry amount compared to countries which qualify for the compact, primarily because of corruption.