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Traffic Police most corrupt—survey

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A Centre for Social Research 2013 Governance and Corruption survey has rated the Traffic Police as the most corrupt of all public institutions the study targeted.

The survey also found that there are only a few public institutions whose dealings with the firms do not involve asking for gratification.

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Chancellor College political scientist Blessings Chinsinga, who was one of the four principle investigators, presented the findings to the media and Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials in Blantyre on Friday.

The main purpose of the survey is to systematically monitor and track the trends of corruption in the country with the ultimate goal of helping the ACB refocus, refine and rediscover anti-corruption strategies on the basis of the findings.

A similar survey was done in 2006 and 2010.

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“The Traffic Police are the most corrupt of all institutions surveyed with its officers asking [for] gratification in four out of every 10 contacts they have business with. The positive development, however, is that compared to 2010, the number of institutions with a clean sheet has increased from three to six.

“While in 2010, the Internal Procurement Committees were considered most corrupt, the Traffic Police have now replaced them at the top of the table. The former are now ranked 12th, with only five percent of the contacts being associated with payment of gratification contrasting with 33 percent in 2010,” the survey report reads in part.

According to the report, some institutions such as the Traffic Police, General Police and Road Traffic Directorate require more targeted efforts to combat corruption because they remain among the most corrupt as was the case in 2010.

On the war against corruption, the survey results show that there is a strong feeling that the overall efficacy of the government’s anti-corruption strategy has dramatically declined.

While in 2010 59 percent of the respondents said the anti-corruption strategy was effective, only 35.5 percent indicated as such in 2013.

“This is a substantial decline, especially when one considers that in the 2006 baseline survey as many as 75 percent of the respondents deemed the government’s anti-corruption strategy effective. The 2013 survey results clearly show that confidence in the government’s anti-corruption strategy has been substantially eroded over the years,” the report says.

The institutions that were highly rated in combating corruption included the media (73.6%), churches/religious bodies (72.6%), nongovernmental organisations (61.1%), academics and teachers (60.9%), the ACB (50.5%), the Police (49.6%) and Office of the Ombudsman (48.5%).

The report, however, said it is striking to note that the performance of the ACB has dramatically gone down from 73 percent in 2010 to 50.5 in 2013, which raises serious concerns about the country’s prospects of winning the battle against corruption.

“The survey was conducted at the time Cashgate had just been discovered and, therefore, one would expect such perceptions from people. People were and are still angry. It is just normal for people to react in that way. We are not bitter with the results. We take the results as a lesson and we will use them to improve our operations,” Senior Public Relations Manager at ACB, Egrita Ndala said.

The survey results also show that the efficiency levels and the quality of services that the public agencies offer have substantially deteriorated both from the perception of the households and businesses although the assessment is particularly negative on the part of businesses.

The survey also found that the top-performing public agencies in as far as households are concerned include the Malawi Postal Corporation, Malawi Telecommunications Limited, Local Development Fund, Malawi Electoral Commission and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

But Traffic Police and the Administrator General remain amongst the least performing public institutions.

“New entrants include Admarc, Accountant General and Public Education Services, replacing Immigration Department, Ministry of Agriculture and the Youth Development Fund from the 2010 line-up,” the report says.

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