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Kenya ranked most corrupt country in East Africa

world Updated: Jul 03, 2009 00:11 IST

Kenya is the most corrupt country in East Africa, an international watchdog said Thursday after surveying residents in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

According to the survey by Berlin-based Tranparency International, 45 per cent of Kenyans pay bribes to access services such as public health care, water connections and security. The country was followed by Uganda with 34 per cent and Tanzania with 17.8 per cent.

Kenyan police, notorious for dubious traffic stops and shaking down motorists for bribes, were ranked the most corrupt in the country, followed by the Ministry of Defense and Judiciary. "The public see officials, and these official see themselves, as existing not to provide a service to the public, but as a body that is not accountable to the public they profess to serve," said Richard Leakey, chairman of the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International.

Kenya police spokesman Eric Kiraithe denied reports of corruption and said such reports would lower the force's morale. Job Ogonda, the Kenya chapter's executive director, blamed graft the kind of violence seen in after Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election, where more than 1,500 people died in protests.

"A crisis of confidence in government institutions is what is going to cause civil strife," he said. He said that people who cannot access justice will take the law into their own hands. The monthlong survey questioned more than 10,500 people in the three countries from April 16th to May 15th, said Berlin-based Transparency international.