SMS reporting app to end corruption in Kenya

A Kenyan non-profit organization, named Wamani Trust, last week Friday launched an SMS-based application aimed at ensuring anonymous reporting of corruption incidences within the country.

Taking advantage of the more than 26.4 million Kenyans who use mobile phones, the application will add to the Trust’s portal,ipaidabribe.or.ke, launched in November 2011 and is expected to allow more Kenyans report bribery incidences.

“SMS reporting functionality will allow people to report bribes in real-time. We can use a GPS mapping system to pinpoint where bribes are being paid,” said Anthony Ragui the application developer.

Ragui believes that the SMS service can help reduce the cases not only from theKenyan Police force who are reported as themost corrupt in the region, according to Transparency International’sEast African Bribery Index 2011, but will sweep all over the country’s institutions including the private sector.

The portal allows bribery victims or witness to log in, report the type of incident, location and the amount demanded from them by civil servants. At present, the portal indicates more than Ksh15,243,726 million (USD183,440) has been lost in incidences of corruption in the country. Mombasa tops thelist of the most affected areas.

According to Ragui, the Trust aimed at encouraging Kenyans to report corruption after realising that only 7 percent of Kenyans reported corruption, according to the bribery index. The remaining could not report the incidences out of fear of victimization.

Wamini trust also aims to use the data generated from the SMS and the online reports to map problem areas like counties, departments into graphs and crowdsourced maps to the relevant authorities to seal loopholes just likeuReport does in Uganda.

The portal is similar to India’s Ipaidbribe.com launched in 2008. The site boasts of more than 15,804 reports valued at 43,83,04,226 (USD8,523,981) rupees lost to corruption across the Asian country’s 480 cities.

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