Transparency International Rwanda (TI Rwanda) on Tuesday, December 3 launched the 10th edition of Rwanda Bribery Index (RBI) in an event held in Kigali.
The annually-conducted perception survey which was first conducted in 2010 establishes and reports experiences and perceptions of Rwandans regarding bribery in the country.
This year's findings reveal a slight decline in bribe prevalence from 2.08 percent in 2018 to 2 percent. 78.5 percent of the population considers corruption to be low in Rwanda while 81.9 percent admire and commend the government's efforts to prevent and fight corruption.
The number of Rwandans who directly or indirectly demanded or offered bribe while interacting with an institution, according to the report, declined to 18.5 percent from 20.4 in 2018.
The highest bribery encounter ever recorded was 24 percent in 2016, a figure that had doubled in four years since 2012.
Even though the trend is still high, the encounter has marked a progressive decline of 1.5 percent from last year, going by the latest report.
Bribery per institutions and services
Bribery prevalence per institution is still topped by Traffic Police with a 9.07 percentage despite a major drop from 14.29 percent in 2018.
Second on the list is Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) with a prevalence of 7.08 followed by Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) schools at 5.13.
TIR has since 2016 added a section of services prone to corruption.
As it was the case in 2018, getting construction permit leads with 33.8 percent of the bribe encounter and it is followed by the service of acquisition of a driver's license with 27.98 per cent.
Each of the two services, however, noted a tremendous decline from last year.
Speaking during the launch, TI Rwanda Chairperson, Marie-Immaculée Ingabire said that "the index has shown that the use of technology in service delivery has played an important role in corruption decrease."
During the presentation of findings, Albert Kavatiri Rwego, Programme Manager - TI Rwanda made a similar observation.
He gave examples of government bodies delivering services through Irembo and e-procurement for the private sector, which has significantly reduced the contact between those seeking services and the ones offering them.
Currently, there are 98 government services that are provided through Irembo platform.
Most bribery cases are never reported
Despite positive progress, the index underpins an aggressively low rate of reporting bribery cases. Over the last 12 months, 86.8 percent of people who encountered bribery did not report the case.
Fear of self-incrimination which prevailed at 22.3 percent is the top root cause of low reporting. Among other causes are the lack of information about institutions to report to (16.3), belief that the official to report to is also corrupt (12.7) and fear of being intimidated (9.9).
On the other hand, the findings expose that 55 percent of reported cases did not see any action, while 35 percent of victims were not satisfied with the actions taken which further discourages reporting.
"Reporting is still low. It is therefore very crucial that the concerned institutions should take actions to the cases of corruption reported by citizens as they are the key drivers of change in the fight against graft," Ingabire said.
"If their voices are ignored, they may get discouraged and we won't be able to eradicate the virus."
How much in bribe and why?
The average size of bribe as reported by RBI 2019 is Rwf 85,000.
However, RIB and judges recorded a bribe size of Rwf450,000 and 345,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, the watchdog also revealed one and only case in RURA with a bribe amounting to Rwf 9 million. Evidently, the case saw a zero-bribe body last year joining the list at 2 percent.
The criminal-justice chain again beats other institutions in the share of bribe with 32 percent for RIB and 20 for the judicial.
By computing the research findings, the index estimates the cost of bribe over Rwf 17 billion which is larger than the annual budget of Nyarugenge district for 2019-2020 (Rwf 16.9 billion.)
The population of RBI comprised of 2,459 participants from 12 districts representing the five provinces of Rwanda.
Women were represented at 48.5 percent and men at 51.5 percent. 63.3 percent of the participants are rural dwellers while 36.7 percent live in urban areas.
The launch was attended by different anti-corruption actors such as RGB, RNP, RIB and MPs.