Kenya dropped three places in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published on Thursday by Transparency International (TI).

The country scored 31 points out of a 100 against last year’s score of 29, still falling below the sub-Saharan average of 32 and the global average of 43.

The CPI, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption collected by several reputable institutions, uses a scale of 0 to 100, zero being the score for the most corrupt.

A score below 50 indicates serious levels of corruption in the public sector.

In the latest report, Rwanda was ranked the best performer in East Africa with 54 points and was followed by Tanzania with 38, Uganda 27, Burundi 19 and South Sudan 12.

Pandemic link

TI noted that the report revealed a direct link between persistent corruption and management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Countries with low levels of corruption were found to have invested more in their healthcare systems and better able to provide Universal Health Coverage.

Those with persistent corruption were found struggling with undermined health care systems and an increased likelihood of having institutions with less regard for the rule of law.

“Covid-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis and one that we are currently failing to manage,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, TI’s chair.

“The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad,” she added.

In this year’s ranking of 180 countries, Denmark and New Zealand topped the list with 88 points, followed by Finland and Singapore with 85.

The lowest points went to Syria (14) and Somalia and South Sudan, which both scored 12 points.

Institutional challenges

The report notes the fact that the poor performers also have fair shares of integrity challenges, including lack of transparency in their public spending in response to the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 crisis has exposed cracks in our institutions especially in public procurement. It is time to plug the gaps that enable corruption to thrive in Kenya, particularly as we look towards taking the country along a path of recovery,” said Sheila Masinde, Executive Director, TI Kenya.

“The government must guarantee that the acquisition and distribution of the much awaited Covid-19 vaccines will be transparent and equitable as strong oversight mechanisms are required.”

In order to ensure accountability going forward, the organisation said, findings of all audits and investigations undertaken in relation to the pandemic must be released and key accountability organisations must increase their involvement in  coordination efforts.

TI also called for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) to give direction on pending Covid-19 corruption cases whose files have been submitted by investigative agencies.

https://nation.africa/kenya/news/kenya-drops-rwanda-shines-in-global-corruption-index-3272380

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