Monitoring corruption in Kazakhstan

 

The results of a sociological survey of the population showed that 54.4% of respondents believe that the number of corruption cases over the past year in their community is likely to have decreased. 23.9% believe that the number of corruption cases in their locality is likely to increase, 21.7% found it difficult to assess the changes. The share of those who believe that it is possible to resolve issues in the country without resorting to corruption schemes (35.8%) is two times lower than the total share of those who believe that corruption is an integral part of our daily practices (56.3%).

The five subjects that, according to the population, deserve the greatest trust from ordinary citizens and have the greatest impact on reducing corruption in the provision of public services include: Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Anti-Corruption (68.3%), Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan (56.3%), the Nur Otan Party (53.7%), the media (53.7%).

77.2% of respondents said that over the past 12 months, state authorities have come to resolve any issue. Of these, 13.4% were faced with the need to resolve the issue informally.

More often than average indicators in the country about the need to resolve issues informally in the Zhambyl, Atyrau, Almaty, Mangistau, Karaganda, Kyzylorda regions and the city of Almaty.

In the following five institutions, according to respondents, up to 60% of cases of corrupt interaction between citizens and state bodies occur. These are: state polyclinics and hospitals, police, land relations departments, state kindergartens, state universities.

A situational analysis of corrupt practices has shown that the degree of recipient’s interest in the service affects the degree to which the respondent is involved in corruption. Respondents who had corruption experience reported greater readiness to resolve the issue informally in the military enlistment offices, state kindergartens, civil registration offices (ZAGS), and at customs. Most often, they concluded agreements on an informal solution to the issue with specialists (34.2%), department heads (17%) and leading specialists (15.9%). However, there are differences depending on the state agency.

In 70.7% of cases, a corruption transaction is concluded on the basis of financial calculation. Half of all payments does not exceed 15,000 tenge, the minimum payment amount was 500 tenge, the maximum — 500,000 tenge. The second most common type of transaction is flowers, sweets (14.3%).

As part of a questionnaire survey of the population, the question of the occasion, which served as the basis for the emergence of the corruption situation, was open, which suggested the respondent’s response in free form. In total, more than 70 unique occasions were received. The TOP 10 corruption issues included:

  1. Treatment / appointment with a specialist
  2. Employment
  3. Obtaining / registration of land
  4. The device of the child in kindergarten / entering into electronic queue
  5. Violation of traffic rules
  6. Deferment from the army / military ticket
  7. Closing / not executing a fine
  8. Obtaining a medical certificate
  9. Making / receiving a childbirth allowance
  10. Admission to the university / receiving an educational grant

Also, as part of a questionnaire survey of the population, more than 50 unique reasons for the corruption transaction were identified by the respondents. It should be noted that both in the group of respondents who have corruption experience and those who deny it, the most common motive is the desire to do everything quickly, without red tape. Judging by the fact that red tape, delaying the resolution of the issue is the most common type of behavior on the part of the employee of the department in the main attempt of government officials to get informal remuneration, it is not possible to solve the issue differently for many citizens.

The share of informal transactions concluded through an intermediary accounts for 49.2% of cases. The role of intermediaries is most often played by acquaintances (42.5%) and employees of the department / institution (26.5%). In 13.8% of cases, it is a relative.

The results of a sociological survey of entrepreneurs showed that 56.6% of respondents believe that over the past year the number of corruption cases in their village has more likely decreased. 17.1%, believes that the number of corruption cases increased more likely, 26.3% found it difficult to assess the changes. The general perception of corruption in the country as a whole is also favorable. 76.1% of respondents agree and rather agree that an entrepreneur can, without giving bribes, develop his business in his place of residence; 16.1% disagree and rather disagree with this point of view.

The five entities that deserve the most trust from ordinary citizens and have the greatest impact on reducing corruption in the provision of public services, according to entrepreneurs, include the Anti-Corruption Agency (72.4%), the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan (62.8 %), The Nur Otan Party (54.7%), the media (54.4%), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (52.1%)

According to the results of the study, it becomes obvious that there are regional features in the attitude of entrepreneurs to the topic of corruption. The following groups can be distinguished:

  1. Corruptionally rational regions. These are those regions in which entrepreneurs are keenly reacting to the growth of corruption facts, and are ready to state and speak openly about them. There are Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Kyzylorda, Atyrau, Mangistau and Karaganda regions.
  2. Corruption-emotional regions. These are the regions where a high level of stereotypical perception of corruption of state bodies is noted, but at the same time, there is a low indicator of involvement in corrupt practices. This group includes Zhambyl, Akmola, Aktobe and Kostanai regions.
  3. Corruption neutral regions. These are the regions in which moderate stereotyping is noted about the increase in the level of corruption when interacting with state bodies with average indicators of corruption involvement in the country. These are East Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, Almaty, Turkestan, Pavlodar regions and the city of Shymkent.

Among the entrepreneurs surveyed, «optimists» predominate (those who believe that talk about the extent of corruption in the country is greatly exaggerated) — 40% and «pragmatists» (those who use corruption in their own interests) — 38.9%. Supporters of a catastrophic view (nothing can be solved without corruption) make up 13.6%.

97.4% of entrepreneurs surveyed reported that they applied with varying frequency over the past 12 months to a particular government agency. According to the results of the survey, only 9.2% of the survey participants were faced with the need to resolve the issue informally.

More often than average indicators across the country on the need to resolve issues informally were noted in the years. Almaty, Nur-Sultan, Shymkent, Almaty, Mangistau, Karaganda, Atyrau, Kyzylorda regions.

Entrepreneurs reported that they were more often confronted with an informal resolution of issues in the department of state revenue (tax), the department of land relations, the administration of the district akimat, the police, the fire service and customs.

It is typical for entrepreneurs, as well as for the population, that involvement in corruption does not always depend on the frequency of appeals. A situational analysis of corrupt practices allows us to conclude that the degree of interest of the recipient in the service, rather than the number of requests, has a greater influence on involvement in corruption.

From the point of view of entrepreneurs, employees of departments / institutions are more likely to initiate informal resolution of issues than themselves — 40.7% versus 32.3%. Intermediaries account for 26.9% of cases. According to entrepreneurs, most often they made agreements on an informal solution to the issue with representatives of the lower level of government agencies — with specialists / inspectors (30.2%) and chief / leading specialists (27.6%).

In most cases, a corruption transaction is concluded on the basis of financial calculation (60.3%). Half of all payments do not exceed 38,000 tenge. At the same time, the minimum amount of payment amounted to 5000 tenge, and the maximum — 300,000 tenge. The second most common type of transaction is services (20.7%).

The list of reasons that served as the basis for the emergence of a corruption situation was open, which suggested a response from the respondent in a free form. In total, more than 50 unique occasions were received, the most common:

  1. Paperwork / acceleration
  2. Fire safety check, permission
  3. To make land for construction
  4. Get the land
  5. Customs inspection at the border, import of goods
  6. Tender (fictitiously conducted by government organizations)
  7. Reducing the size of the fine
  8. Writing a fine
  9. Violations during the execution of customs declarations
  10. Installation of fire installations, devices
  11. Submission of reports / annual reports
  12. Tax Redemption
  13. Registration of foreign workers, extension of temporary registration of foreign citizens
  14. Get help out of turn
  15. Protection of rights
  16. Find a thief, investigate theft.

Also, 57.4% of the entrepreneurs surveyed said that the most common way for an employee of the department to get an informal payment is red tape, delaying the resolution of the issue, 26.5% — abuse of power, 16.2% — direct extortion.

Thus, the main motive for resolving the issue in an informal way is the desire to do everything quickly, without red tape, which is why entrepreneurs see no other way and 69.5% of them said they agreed to an informal solution to the issue. The share of informal transactions concluded through an intermediary accounts for 44.8% of cases. The intermediaries are most often played by acquaintances (36.5%) and influential people (21.2%), as well as «helpers» (17.3%).

The results of the analysis of complaints received on the Open Government portal «Open Dialogue» from January 1 to May 31, 2019 showed that out of 15540 appeals, 568 appeals, or 3.7%, contain information about the applicants’ encounter with corruption or poor-quality work of state bodies, red tape , abuse of authority and ethical violations.

100% of the requests contained information on previously sent requests to any of the budget organizations or to a state body (including the public service center) to resolve any issue. However, the lack of an answer or solution to the problem that the applicants contacted led to a repeated appeal to a higher authority or to the first head of the department through the Open Dialog blog platform.

Most often, the applicants complained about the blogs of the Ministers of the Interior, Health, Justice, Labor and Social Protection, the Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan. At the level of local executive bodies, complaints more often came to the blog platforms of akims of Akmola, Turkestan, Kostanay, Almaty regions and the city of Nur-Sultan.

Complaints related to the failure to respond to the request were received mainly on the blogging platform of the heads of the State Revenue Committee, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Ministry of the Interior, the Akim of Almaty Region and the city of Nur Sultan . In 90% of cases, the answers were not provided by employees of the same departments.

In 19.8% of the complaints, the applicants reported that they had encountered corruption when applying to state authorities. More often than average, the need to resolve the issue informally was reported from Almaty, North Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, Turkestan regions, cities. Almaty, Nur-Sultan, Shymkent.

The applicants reported that up to 60% of corruption encounters occurred within the walls of the police, state hospitals and clinics, the tax department, when contacting private enforcement agents and state-owned limited liability partnerships.

A situational analysis of corruption practices showed that involvement in corruption depends on the degree of interest of the recipient in the service. From the point of view of applicants who reported having encountered corruption, the initiators of an informal resolution of issues are more often employees of departments / institutions than citizens — 62.1% versus 6.8%. Intermediaries account for 31% of cases.

At the same time, the state bodies, in which the citizens themselves are the initiators, were designated the police. According to the applicants, more often than other employees of government agencies involved in corruption transactions are specialists / medical personnel (78.4%), managers (12.6%) and deputy managers (8.8%).

In most cases, the applicants reported that in the event of a collision with corruption, the subject of the transaction was cash, and the transaction was concluded within 10,000 tenge. The minimum payment amount was 500 tenge, and the maximum — 600,000 tenge. Also, two complaints against the police were related to extorting bribes in the amount of $ 4,700 and $ 8,000.

The list of reasons why the complainants of the complaint about the Open Dialog portal was open and formed as we studied their contents. Altogether, 463 descriptions of cases of applicants falling into a corruption situation when interacting with state bodies or state institutions, poor-quality rendering of public services or consideration of an appeal, and a lack of response to a request and appeal were received.

According to the applicants, the main violations by public servants who contributed to corruption and became the reason for submitting an appeal to the Open Dialog blog platform were:

  1. Red tape
  2. Negligence, formalism
  3. Providing answers with vague wording
  4. Inaction in the investigation of fraud, theft
  5. Excess of authority
  6. Formal rule of law
  7. Failure to provide a response to a previously sent request
  8. Creation of artificial barriers and an offer to get a service for money
  9. Incompetence and gross errors of specialists
  10. Non-enforcement of a court decision
  11. Corruption risks in the legislation
  12. Technical errors in the work of state portals
  13. Ethical violations
  14. Protectionism
  15. Multiple redirects of requests.

As part of the analysis of complaints on the Open Dialog portal, it was established which state authorities or public institutions the applicants expressed confidence in. These are: Anti-Corruption Agency (26.6%), Nur Otan Party (13.3%), Ministry of Health (6.6%), Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (6.6%), Ministry of Internal Affairs ( 6.6%), the Akimat of the region (6.6%), the prosecutor’s office (6.6%), the media (6.6%).


In developing the methodology, the research approaches were taken as the basis for the Global Corruption Barometer and the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. The study has a cumulative nature and consists of a sociological survey of individuals and legal entities, as well as an analysis of complaints received on the Open Government portal «Open Dialogue».

This format made it possible to find out the proportion of respondents who had corruption experience with the subsequent determination of the most vulnerable state and public institutions, as well as positions and regions with a high perception of corruption.

To solve the research tasks, a questionnaire survey of the population was used, as well as an analysis of complaints on the Open Dialog portal that had references to corruption or other violations in government bodies. In the framework of the survey, 7284 respondents — individuals and 1800 respondents — representatives of small and medium-sized individual entrepreneurship were interviewed by the questioning method. As part of the analysis of big data, out of 15540 appeals, 568 appeals of individuals and legal entities received on the Open Dialogue portal from January 1 to May 31, 2019 were selected and analyzed.


Link to survey Monitoring corruption in Kazakhstan