TIS: One in Eight Slovak Households Paid Bribe in 2015

(Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 16 (TASR) – One in eight Slovak households in contact with selected public bodies paid a bribe last year, according to the Global Corruption Barometer carried out by Transparency International among 60,000 people in 42 countries of Europe and Central Asia, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

Slovakia was in sixth worst place in the survey.

The highest share of bribes in Slovakia is paid in health care (one in ten households), in acquiring official permits and in contact with the police.

Meanwhile, minor corruption is most rampant in Romania and Lithuania, with one in four households involved.

“Compared to other countries, Slovaks are only very little determined to fight corruption. Only one fifth of people who came in contact with corruption last year reported it to the authorities,” said Transparency International Slovakia director Gabriel Sipos.

As many as 41 percent of Slovaks believe that ordinary people can hardly do anything about corruption, while the European average is 24 percent, and only 7 percent of the Swedes share this view, for example.

Slovaks don’t report corruption mainly because of fear of retaliation (27 percent), scepticism over achieving anything by reporting it (at 22 percent, the highest figure in Europe) and because it’s difficult to provide evidence (19 percent).

“A recent study of judicial verdicts in Slovakia conducted by Transparency revealed that half of the verdicts concerned bribes below €20, with mainly payers and not receivers of illicit money being punished,” said Sipos.

According to him, the impunity of the so-called “big fishes” is mainly due to political involvement and the untrustworthy leadership of the Slovak police and prosecutors’ offices.

Meanwhile, the law on protection of whistleblowers adopted 18 months ago seems to have had little effect. For example, 25 ministries and other major public bodies out of the 29 listed didn’t receive even one report from their staff on shady deals in the workplace, added Sipos.