Discriminatory, nonuniform application of laws: biggest cause of corruption
More than a quarter of respondents felt that corruption was normal, and that everyone indulged in it thinking it was normal
Discriminatory and non-uniform application of laws and rules stood out as the biggest cause of corruption in the country, according to the National Corruption Barometer Survey (NCBS) conducted by Bhutan Transparency Initiative (BTI), which was launched on Wednesday.
Other noticeable factors include lengthy
procedures, a weak and ineffective media and a strong protective social net of those accused of corrupt actions.
According to the report, discrimination on the basis of social status is one of the common problems faced by people on a daily basis while accessing public services. About 20% of respondents admitted that such kind of discrimination was the key problem in accessing public services and that the trend is on the rise.
The study revealed that corruption in favoritism and nepotism in recruitment, promotion and transfer were among the most prevalent forms of corruption in the country.
The most alarming findings from the survey were that more than a quarter (25.32%) of respondents thought that corruption was normal, and that everyone indulged in it thinking it was normal. The report states that these findings indicate the existence of pervasive corruption in the country and a high level of acceptance of corruption as a norm in the society.
Among occupational groups, civil servants and students were the main respondents (43.8% each) who reported the occurrence. Deliberately delaying decisions with corrupt motives was perceived as another significant form of corruption with 68.8% prevalence in the country.
A total of 10.2% of the citizens reported having paid a bribe in the past 12 months. At least 2.6% of the citizens reported of bribing a government official to get the documents they needed. The proportion of citizens who paid a bribe was significantly higher in the urban areas (14.3%) than in rural areas (6.16%).
The survey also found that 13.43% were scared that combating corruption would be an uphill task as doing so would require taking on a powerful nexus of judges, bureaucrats, politicians, and businesses.
The survey indicated that corruption is highly concentrated at the top decision making level while it was thought to be comparatively low at the lower supervisory level.
Executive Director of BTI, Pema Lhamo, said the civil society organization will continue to formulate a suitable research strategy that contributes more effectively toward generating knowledge on the corruption situation in the country.
According to her, the research on corruption in the country is still limited and not able to answer many questions particularly on the dynamics of corruption at various sectors, sub-sectorial and institutional levels both nationally and locally.
The interventions against corruption need to match the causes in order for anti-corruption actions to be effective.
She further stated that the study will serve as a baseline for BTI as the findings of the survey will be useful in assessing a general level of corruption and perception.
“BTI will use the findings of the report to design relevant interventions to strengthen initiatives against corruption,” said Pema Lhamo.
A higher proportion of urban citizens reported the prevalence of all forms of corruption. People below the age of 25 years were found to be more concerned about it.
Furthermore, citizens with formal education reported a much higher prevalence of corruption in the country than those with no formal education.
Weak leadership, lack of information and transparency on rules and procedures, and poor or lack of robust accountability mechanisms in place were found to play a significant role in increasing corruption in the country.
Preferential treatment given to influential people was reported to affect ordinary citizens’ access to basic services and this was pointed out as one of the major problems in the health sector.
The report also states that the general perception among the people is that corruption level has been steadily increasing since the introduction of democracy in the country. Around a third (31.5%) of the respondents stated that the level of corruption has ‘increased somewhat’ after the introduction of democracy.
A high proportion of the population perceived judges as corrupt, more than half of the population (63.2%) reported some judges being corrupt while 31.1% of the respondents reported that most judges are corrupt.
The survey was covered 1,200 respodents from both rural and urban areas.