By Christopher Ambe
Corruption in Cameroon, despite sustained efforts to curb it, still remains a significant problem and the services of the Police, Judiciary and the Education system have been indentified as champions of this vice, which has eaten deep in the fabric of this central African county, according to a survey conducted by Transparency International, dubbed the Global Corruption Barometer 2013, released last Tuesday.
Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption. Its national chapter, Transparency International –Cameroon, was created in 2000, two years after the corruption watchdog nailed Cameroon, by ranking it (in 1998) as the most corrupt country.
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In the recent past, Cameroon has been classed more than once as the most corrupt country in the world, forcing the Biya regime to launch a vigorous war against corruption, dubbed Operation Sparrow Hawk, which as sent many top government officials to prison for embezzlement of public funds.
The Global Corruption Barometer 2013, which surveyed 114,000 people in 107 countries, revealed that corruption is widespread .The results show more than 1 in 4 paid a bribe in last 12 months(read a separate report on page 9 of this edition titled: Bribe paying still very high worldwide)
At the level of Cameroon, according to Transparency International (TI), some 1000 people were in August 2012 randomly sampled and interviewed from country’s 10 regions on their perception of corruption in the country as well as government’s efforts to fight corruption, using a computer-assisted face-to –face survey. The target population represents 10 688 965 Cameroonian citizens aged of 18 and above.
The GCB 2013 for Cameroon results were released, July 9, during a press conference at the office of Transparency International –Cameroon in Yaounde,The ceremony was presided over by the Vice- President of the Board of TI-Cameroon, Mrs. Beatrice Atcham Elom and the Executive Director of TI-C, Mr. Roger Ngoh Yom, presented the GCB barometer.
“The GCB 2012 result for Cameroon shows that citizens perceive corruption to be a significant problem in the public sector. Police, judiciary system and education system are still seen as the top corruption ridden service sectors in the country, when police, judiciary and taxes services are the institutions where most people bribe to have a service during the 12 months preceding the study”, the TI report says.
“These results highlight the need for increased and continued action from the government as well as civil society in the country. This year’s GCB survey also focused on people action and the result shows that a majority of Cameroonians are willing to continue fighting corruption by reporting cases to authorities as well as by joining an organization that works to reduce it.”
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The report notes: “Police is seen as the most corrupted institution in Cameroon. On a scale of 1 to 5, survey respondents scored the police at 4.4 meaning they are extremely corrupted. However, judiciary and education system are also seen as very corrupt with average scores of 4.2 and 4.0 respectively.
In terms of percentage, the report says, “Eighty-six (86%) of respondents believed the police to be very or extremely corrupt while this percentage was 81% for the judicial and 72% for the educational system”
NGOs and Religious body on the other hand fall in the lower end of corruption perception. They both scored 2.5 lower than the average score of 3.5.
According to the survey, 59% of Cameroonians think that Government is at a large extent or entirely managed by a few entities of people acting in their own best interests.
Here are the IT key findings:46% of people think corruption has increased and 24% believe it hasn’t changed; Police appears as one of the most corrupt institution closely followed by the judiciary;62% of people in Cameroon have paid bribe to one of these 8 services (police, judicial system, tax, education system, medical and health service, registry and permit service, land service and utilities);69% of respondents who came in contact with police services had paid a bribe to obtain the service during the 12 past months, the judiciary system follows with 55% and Tax services with 46%;Seventy-nine(79%) of people agree that ordinary people make a difference in the fight against corruption;50% of people think government is very ineffective at fighting corruption;74% of people are willing to report an incident of corruption.
While TI-Cameroon has reiterated its readiness to join several anti-corruption watchdog organizations to press for the adoption of anti-corruption laws in the country, it is hoped that, the Cameroon government would use the survey results to intensify its war against corruption, especially in the Police, Judiciary and the Education system, identified as most corrupt service sectors.
( First Published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of July 11,2013-as lead story)