20 January 2010

Public Corruption is Afghans’ Greatest Worry

Public Corruption is Afghans’ Greatest Worry

Most Afghans (nearly 60%) say that corruption and public dishonesty is the most prominent problem for the country. More so even than insecurity (54%) and unemployment (52%), according to a UNODC survey of 7,600 Afghans. The results are presented in their new report: Corruption in Afghanistan: Bribery as Reported by Victims.

Here’s the situation, according to UNODC:

  • More than half of adult Afghans have had to bribe at least one (but five, on average) public official in the past year.
  • Bribery is most pronounced in the North and South (less prevalent in the West), and payments are usually higher (and more ubiquitous) in rural areas.
  • Most believe that the situation is getting worse, rather than better, especially in rural areas.
  • Police, courts and customs are the public sectors in which bribery occurs most often, where they occur in about half of all citizen transactions.
  • Bribes are most commonly exchanged for timely processing of administrative requests, to avoid monetary fines, and to receive preferential treatment.
  • Nearly three out of four Afghans (72%) believe it is necessary to bribe an official to receive public service, causing most to lose trust in those services. Many Afghans have even come to believe that many of the International organizations and NGOs present there are mainly motivated to profit off of the people.
  • In some circumstances, many have either accepted the practice of bribery or find the practice to be acceptable – particularly for services like expediting a process or preference in hiring someone for a civil service job. Less than 10% have ever reported corruption or a requested bribe, most say that’s because it would be pointless to do so.
  • Most Afghans also find that neither tribal leaders nor the media do much to raise awareness or address the problem.