Corruption in judiciary on the decline - watchdog chief

Corruption incidences involving judiciary staff have been on a downward trend in recent times, according Transparency International (TI) -Rwanda.
Members of the judiciary march to raise awareness about the dangers of corruption in 2012. (File)
Members of the judiciary march to raise awareness about the dangers of corruption in 2012. (File)

Corruption incidences involving judiciary staff have been on a downward trend in recent times, according Transparency International (TI) -Rwanda.

TI executive secretary Appollinaire Mupiganyi said going by indices by various institutions, both local and international, there had been commendable improvement.

In last year’s least corrupt nations’ ranking, Rwanda was ranked 49th globally, 4th in the continent and least corrupt in the East African region.

Mupiganyi was yesterday speaking to The New Times at the closing of the Anti-Corruption Week organised by the Judiciary.

He said there was also improvement in the perceptions and corruption related experiences by members of the public in regards to corruption in the judiciary.

“According to latest reports, the likelihood that a member of the public will be asked for a bribe by staff of the judiciary went from 5 per cent in 2013 to 2 per cent in 2014. The prevalence of service seekers offering bribes to officials also went down from 2.3 per cent in 2013 to 1.8 per cent last year,” Mupiganyi said.

However, he added, the average sum received as bribes by corrupt judiciary officials had gone up in the previous year, from Rwf4o,763 in 2013 to Rwf44,708 in 2014, which could be attributed to the higher risk of being caught and consequences.

Room for improvement

Transparency International lauded the judiciary for efforts and commitment to tackle corruption, saying experts project that with the trend, graft incidents would reduce further.

The Anti-Corruption Week sought to expedite and complete all corruption cases brought before the courts, Spokesperson of the Judiciary, Emmanuel Itamwa, told this newspaper.

“They were a total of 60 in all courts across the country. We are hoping that they will be complete by the end of the week,” Itamwa said, adding that, generally, corruption cases had decreased over the years and that those implicated in the vice had been dealt with.

“Since 2005, at least 27 court staff, including registrars and judges, have been implicated in corruption-related cases. Appropriate measures were taken against them which involved terminating their employment and transferring their cases to the police for investigation and prosecution,” Itamwa said.