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Kenyans highlight bribery on new site

Kenya’s new I Paid A Bribe website is attracting long lists of claims from Kenyans who say they have been forced to pay bribes to officials.

The site, based on a similar site in India, was launched to highlight the good and the bad of Kenyan officialdom.

Readers have submitted stories of numerous bribes paid for alleged traffic offences and  to speed up document processing by land office and other officials. In just over 150 reports claiming bribes were paid, the site says totals of over 149,800 shillings in bribes were paid to police, 28,550 went to municipal services, 1,035,00 were paid for passports and IDs, 17,800 to lands officials and 3,500 to corporates.

In many cases, motorists said they had not been guilty of any traffic offence, but had paid bribes in order to speed up their journey or avoid threatened jail time.

Some readers said they had not paid bribes, even though officials solicited them. Several said they had challenged the officers, simply refused to pay, or even burst into tears until the officials gave up. One wrote that in a municipal office: “I …raised my voice nearly a shout saying ‘you want me to bribe you? Where is the supervisor?’ The man nearly collapsed and gave me my permit with a strict admonition!”   

A handful of positive reports in the “I didn’t have to pay a bribe” section of the site commended officials for professional service, with one reader mentioning how police officials recovered his wife safely after she was abducted, then bought the couple a meal.

A spokesperson for Kenya's Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is reported to have said officials would welcome the information from www.ipaidabribe.or.ke.

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