Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Have You Paid Your Bribes This Week?


Just came across an excellent Indian website called I Paid a Bribe.

Operated by an Indian NGO based in Bangalore, this site enables visitors to register their stories of bribery and thievery by Indian officials. Irate citizens can report on the nature, number, pattern, types, location, frequency and values of actual corrupt acts. The reports will, perhaps for the first time, provide a snapshot of bribes occurring across the country.

The NGO Janaagraha will use them to argue for improving governance systems and procedures, tightening law enforcement and regulation and thereby reduce the scope for corruption in obtaining services from the government. Fat chance of success in India, but still a great initiative and if nothing else, wronged individuals are provided with a chance to let off steam.

You can even tell the website when you have not paid a bribe for official services or if you encounter an honest official. Apparently this is so rare that it is worth mentioning.

What I Paid a Bribe does not want is the naming of individuals who force people to pay bribes. This of course, would lead to an orgy of revenge and half the people implicated would most likely be innocent.

Several other countries in the region might well benefit from a similar initiative, not least because the widely read Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International is so misleading – How else would a country like Singapore consistently come out on top, next to Scandinavian countries?

Many of the quotes on I Paid a Bribe are as hilarious as they are heartbreaking. Here are a few of the best.

Birth of child brings happiness to Parents and Municipal authorities

My mother has been paying bribe every year so that she keeps getting her pension.

Police cought me and took money for nothing reson

Airport custom officer corruptdisgusting

Was forced to bribe for ‘smooth’ transaction

I paid bribe through out my career in corporate sector

Can’t proceed without Bribe

Bribe for let me go Home

2 Responses to “Have You Paid Your Bribes This Week?”

  1. 1
    Bangkok Blogger:

    Definitely need a Thai one! Although I’ve never actually need to pay tea money so maybe not…

  2. 2
    I Paid a Bribe:

    Hey Tom

    Greetings from IPAB! Thanks a lot for spreading the IPAB word!

    We at IPAB aim to harness the collective energy of the citizens to fight the menace of corruption. Our primary aim is to uncover the market price of corruption in the country. We are delighted that you find our initiative commendable.

    We are currently into our second phase of engagement. This entails tabling the analysed Bribe Patterns as reported by citizens as a Janamahiti (=Information for the People) Report to the government. We aim to advocate for sustainable improvements in the system of governance thereby tackling corruption.

    Hope to see your continued support. Follow our activities on fb ( and twitter ( See you there!

    IPAB Team

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