Nairobi, Kenya – 15th April 2020: Further to the advisory issued earlier on accountability measures in the COVID-19 response, Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) makes the following statement in regard to bribery incidents reported in the enforcement of government directives intended to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Following the cessation of movement declared by the President in the Nairobi metropolitan area, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa Counties, we have witnessed increased reports of bribery reported through mainstream and social media, including various video recordings of bribery incidents circulating. Through social media and other reporting channels, anonymous reports of incidents of bribery at various roadblocks put up by the police to enforce the directive on cessation of movement have been reported.
Other incidents of concern include:
- The implementation of the Public Health Order (2020) including rules on mask wearing and limitations on the number of passengers in public and private vehicles has created opportunities for bribery demands by the police leading to non-compliance of the rules.
- Reported cases of public hospitals turning away patients due to the directive to decongest hospitals, and others denied access for failure to wear masks and inability to purchase masks being sold at health facilities; Patients suffering from chronic non-communicable diseases, seeking treatment from referral hospitals, unable to access the health facilities following the directive on restricted movement leaving them in desperate need for medical attention.
- Reported cases of some citizens who do not offer essential services, but due to their status in the society, seem to be unlawfully exempted from the cessation of movement directive.
We therefore recommend that:
- Citizens should be protected from exploitation or corruption while seeking health services including non-COVID-19 treatment and other services, and safe and secure avenues to report bribery incidents made widely accessible and publicised.
- The Ministry of Health and County Governments should provide information on any available public complaints’ handling mechanisms established and guide public officials against excesses as they enforce the various directives issued.
- The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government through the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IG) should provide the necessary resources to the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the National Police Service to enable it operationalise its anonymous reporting systems in line with the Ministry’s 10-point Policing Plan for 2020/2021 on having a 24-hour manned hotline.
- In respect to police bribery, the Inspector General and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should regularly provide updates on reports received, investigations conducted, and sanctions taken against officers to demonstrate commitment to uphold integrity in policing.
- All reports on corruption in the enforcement of COVID-19 containment measures should be investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned with no exception.
We advise citizens to report all incidents of corruption through the various reporting channels i.e. the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) through 0798 474 619 and get free legal advice on corruption-related cases through TI-Kenya’s toll-free number 0800-720-721/SMS 40019.