Corruption is a huge problem in the world today as it holds back growth and destroys most jobs. This is no different in Slovakia. Research shows that corruption is 6 times higher in Slovakia compared to other Western European countries. In fact, it has been reported that some Slovakia citizens had to part with money when using public services.
According to a report by Transparency International Slovakia, 12% of Slovakia citizens paid bribe when getting services in the last three years. This includes services such as hospitals, schools, police, courts, utilities, and when acquiring ID documents. This is despite the fact that citizens pay taxes to the state in order to receive public services.
With corruption on the rise, one may wonder how many people are actually willing to report corruption cases. A poll conducted by the Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) showed that the number of people willing to report corruption has decreased. According to a study they did in May 2016, 37% of the people said that they would report corruption. However, the situation has changed in 2018 as the numbers measured are below one third. Director of TIS, Gabriel Sipos noted that this is the lowest measured number of people willing to report corruption since Slovakia gained independence.
The findings also showed that 58% would probably not report corruption cases to the police. Just like politicians, the police have been found to be the most corrupt public institutions. Gabriel expressed that only 38% of the Slovaks believed in the police while the rest said that most officers were corrupt. This is most likely because those who reported corruption to the police suffered retaliation and their family lives endangered. Hence, although they are willing to report in order to make a difference in the fight against corruption, only a small percentage actually report.
Furthermore, the Eurobarometer from spring 2018 found that the Slovak police was the least trusted in the EU. This is probably one of the reasons why the rate of corruption is still high in Slovakia than in other Western European countries.
The most affected public sector when it comes to corruption in Slovakia is the health care sector. Due to high demand, it is the place where quid pro quo and illegal payments often occur. As quoted by TASR newswire, Gabriel said that most citizens gave bribes to the GP for adults at the surgery and medical ward followed by the stomatology, gynecology, orthopedics, and pediatricians. This shows that corruption is far too prevalent, with great impact on the vulnerable in society.
Being the Focus agency for ethics watchdog, TIS has called on the government to fight police corruption and strengthen their judicial systems. They also advocate support and protection to citizens who are willing to report corruption. This includes creating accessible reporting channels for potential whistleblowers. This way, more people may be willing to come forward and report cases related to corruption.