Friday, February 27, 2009

Corruption or Bureaucracy

The first 2 boxes of medical supplies arrived safely last week and were handed over for minimal handling charge. Yesterday evening Kenya Airways fantasticly flew the last 9 boxes of medical kit into Nairobi and Bramuel was there ready to collect.

Unfortunately the same handling agent who passed over the first 2 boxes now believes they need an additional $200 to release the goods. The KRA agent is asking for the additional funds despite documentation from us stating these goods are nil value charitable donations and despite having formal documentation from the NGO Council regarding the ArrowWeb Hospital.

[4 March 2009 Update; official word is that the charges are all required as standard by the KRA (not
duty) but include a GOK fee? .. a small Kenya Airways handling/standard fee plus the KRA agent's fee??]

The boxes of donated medical goods, from the Motorsport Medical Services, are for the ArrowWeb Hospital, in the Embakasi division around Nairobi which was established to help the community of an estimated 798,000 people plagued by poor health and living conditions. The project to improve the hospital is being ran online using the Netherlands-based NABUUR "virtual village" system where volunteers can simply log in from home to assist. The Kayole-Soweto project involves, specifically for this project, the input of over 60 professional members (including myself) from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Poland, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Malaysia, South Africa, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Thailand.

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ThinkingMansUhuru said...

You have bumped into the way things are done in Kenya. Everything that involves government unfortunately involves a kickback. You could try calling someone over at the US Embassy in Nairobi, but they may or may not be able to pull strings.

In the end, you may have to leave the huff and puff at the door and pay the $200, because I found as a missionary over there that when I tried to negotiate, they stalled and said that it was either the full tariff or they keep the goods.Is it fair? No, but remember you are not dealing with a clean, efficient,and transparent government!

AVIF Volunteers in Kenya said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm not surprised by this, KRA had to oust 30-odd corrupt agents, publicly, last year alone. I've been working (virtually) in Kenya for 3 years now and seen staggeringly worse corruption than this. $200 is nothing but its a lot to our charity and even more to the community hospital. We're just playing their game right now but by Monday when we go back to collect the boxes we'll have a few more aces to pull.

wldowner said...

It is a shame that the supplies that are going to Kenya to help the people are being held up by corrupt officials because of money. Is this standard practice when arriving in Kenya? Can I expect my film equipment and my crews equipment to be siezed at the airport when we arrive? The same thing happens at the border at Mexico, it's rather sad.

AVIF Volunteers in Kenya said...

wldowner, thanks for your comment but its entirely different when you're travelling with goods, ours were unaccompanied, imported items.