Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inefficiency breeds Corruption - Kilindini Port

I am sure it is not a new argument to put forth but I think that the majority of corruption in Kenya is largely due to inefficient/non transparent systems.

The corruption is merely a symptom of of the above illness.

I just cleared some items from the port of Mombasa. Due to a problem with KPA's computers about two or so weeks ago, Clearing Agents were unable to generate IDF's for about 10 days. (IDF stands for Import Declaration Form - the document that is used to inform Customs about the import..without one your goods cannot be processed through customs).

Because of this problem, no goods were cleared from the port for about a week or so. This obviously caused a backlog and meant that the goods I was having cleared not only sat in the port for 10 extra days but were delivered to me damaged. (I cannot prove the damage was actually sustained in Mombasa but as I personally delivered the goods to the ship on the other end, and my agent informs me that they were damaged when they were leaving the port, my suspicion is that they sustained the damage while sitting in the port).

I estimate that repairing the damage will cost me at least 70-80,000 Kshs.

Upon taking a look at the invoice from my clearing agent, I noticed some entries called 'incidentals'. Turns out this is just a euphemism for bribes. Seems that despite my goods sitting in port for 10 extra days, my agent still had to 'move' the process along otherwise my goods would have been there forever..incurring further costs in form of port charges etc and risking even further damage to my products.

If our port system was not only efficient but transparent, it would limit the leeway available for people to seek/demand bribes for offering services that they are paid to offer.


  1. Hi there I've written a post on corruption in India; see what you think of it.

  2. Pole about your goods.

    Now we're even acquiring official names for corruptions?! Ati incidentals. If the corruption monster wasn't so big and bad that would be laughable.

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