Almost half of Liberians say the level of corruption in the country has increased, new Afrobarometer data reveal. The police, National Electoral Commission, and National Assembly are perceived to be the most corrupt public officials, while religious and traditional leaders are perceived to be least corrupt.
The study also shows that the police rank as the institution that citizens most frequently acknowledge bribing during the previous year. Although half of Liberians think that ordinary citizens can make a difference in fighting corruption, six in 10 say that people risk retaliation if they report incidents of corruption. Two-thirds also say it is not likely that authorities will take action if they report corrupt behaviour.
Liberia’s score on the Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International dropped from 37 out of 100 in 2016 to 31 in 2017.
- Almost half (47%) of Liberians say the level of corruption in the country has “increased somewhat” or “increased a lot” over the past year (Figure 1).
- The officials most widely perceived as corrupt are the police (62% of respondents say “most” or “all” are corrupt), National Electoral Commission (49%), and National Assembly (49%) (Figure 2). The most trusted are religious leaders (56% of respondents say they trust them “somewhat” or “a lot”), the president (55%), and traditional leaders (45%)
- Among respondents who had contact with relevant public services during the previous year, about half say they paid a bribe at least once to get police assistance (55%) or household services (48%). About four in 10 paid a bribe at least once to get medical care (43%), to get public school services (40%), or to avoid problems with the police (37%) (Figure 3).
- Although half of Liberians (52%) think that ordinary citizens can make a difference in fighting corruption, six in 10 (61%) say that people risk retaliation if they report incidents of corruption (Figure 4).
- Two-thirds (67%) say it is “not very likely” or “not at all likely” that authorities will take action if they report corrupt behaviour (Figure 5).
- Large majorities of Liberians say the rich are more likely than ordinary persons to get away with paying a bribe or using personal connections to avoid taxes (83%), avoid going to court (89%), or register land that’s not theirs (87%) (Figure 6).
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa. Six rounds of surveys were conducted in up to 37 Africans countries between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys have been completed in 2018. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.
The Afrobarometer team in Liberia, led by The Khana Group, interviewed 1,200 adult Liberians in June 2018. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys have been conducted in Liberia in 2008, 2012, and 2015.
Figure 1: Level of corruption │ Liberia │ 2018
Respondents were asked:
– How many of the following people do you think are involved in corruption, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say?
– How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say?
Respondents who said they had contact with selected public services during the previous year were asked: And how often, if ever, did you have to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favour:
– For a teacher or school official in order to get the services you needed from the schools?
– For a health worker or clinic or hospital staff in order to get the medical care you needed?
– For a government official in order to get the document you needed?
– For a government official in order to get the services you needed?
– For a police officer in order to get the assistance you needed?
– For a police officer in order to avoid a problem during one of these encounters?
(Note: Figure excludes respondents who said they had no contact with these public services during the previous year.)
Figure 4: Citizens’ role in fighting corruption │ Liberia │ 2018
Respondents were asked:
– Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: Ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption? (% who “agree” or “strongly agree”)
– In this country, can ordinary people report incidents of corruption without fear, or do they risk retaliation or other negative consequences if they speak out? (% who say they risk negative consequences)
Figure 5: Will the authorities take action when corruption is reported? │ Liberia │ 2018
Figure 6: Bribery by the rich vs. ordinary people │ Liberia │ 2018
Respondents were asked: In this country, how likely do you think it is that an ordinary person/a rich person could pay a bribe or use personal connections to get away with:
– Avoiding paying taxes they owe to government?
– Avoiding going to court?
– Registering land that does not belong to them?
(% who say “somewhat likely” or “very likely”)
For more information, please contact:
The Khana Group
Telephone: +231 777 231 777
Visit us online at: www.afrobarometer.org