Senegal Corruption Report, GAN, August 2020

Site of publication : GAN

Type of publication : Report

Date of publication : August 2020

Link to the original document


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Judicial System

There is a moderate risk of corruption in Senegal’s court system. Companies report insufficient confidence in the independence of the judiciary. Irregular payments and bribes in return for favorable judicial decisions are fairly common. A quarter of Senegalese citizens perceive the most or all of judges as corrupt. One in ten firms identify the court system as a major problem. Senegal’s judiciary is formally independent of the legislature and executive office, but in practice the executive’s influence over the courts is occasionally evident in cases involving politics and large economic interests. Civil society groups have criticized the judiciary for not following up on the cases OFNAC, Senegal’s anti-corruption agency, brings to its attention. None of the cases identified in OFNAC’s 2016 report have been investigated by the judiciary. Nevertheless, executive interference in commercial disputes is rare. Inadequate pay and lack of tenure sometimes compromise the impartiality of judges. Despite the aforementioned problems, judicial processes in Senegal are generally procedurally competent.

Companies report moderate confidence in the efficiency of the legal framework in settling disputes, but report that efficiency is poor when it comes to challenging government regulations. Dispute settlement is often slow and cumbersome. Proceedings in court often take a long time, providing ample opportunity for the involved parties to prolong proceedings. Businesses often find implementing and enforcing judgments problematic. Enforcing a commercial contract in Senegal takes longer but costs less than the Sub-Saharan Africa regional average.

Police

Businesses contend with moderate corruption risks when dealing with Senegal’s police. Corruption in the sector is reportedly common. About a third of Senegalese citizens consider the police to be corrupt, but only about one in ten reported paying a bribe to the police in the past year. Civilian authorities generally maintained control over the security services, but they have been ineffective in addressing impunity and corruption. Reports of police corruption rarely lead to prosecution. Businesses express reasonable confidence in the reliability of police services to protect them from crime and enforce order. Three out of five firms pay for private security.

Many Senegalese are hesitant to report police corruption; in one case, a woman who filmed a police officer engaging in an act of corruption was prosecuted while the police officer faced no consequences.

Public Services 

There is a moderate chance of experiencing corruption when dealing with Senegal’s public services. Less than one in every ten businesses indicate they expect to give gifts to public officials in order ‘to get things done. Nevertheless, bribes and irregular payments are common when dealing with utility services. Investors in Senegal frequently complain of bureaucratic hurdles. Frequent demands for “tips” at the lower levels of the bureaucracy in order to advance permits or other paperwork is also cited as a competitive disadvantage in Senegal. About two-thirds of the reports OFNAC, Senegal’s anti-corruption agency, receives are related to corruption in the public administration.

Businesses contend with moderate corruption risks when dealing with Senegal’s police. Corruption in the sector is reportedly common. About a third of Senegalese citizens consider the police to be corrupt, but only about one in ten reported paying a bribe to the police in the past year. Civilian authorities generally maintained control over the security services, but they have been ineffective in addressing impunity and corruption

Starting a business in Senegal takes only half as many steps as the regional average, and only a quarter of the time required elsewhere in the region. Getting electricity takes the same number of steps as elsewhere in the region, yet only slightly more than half the time of the regional average.

Land Administration 

There is a fairly high risk of corruption in Senegal’s land administration. Property rights are generally guaranteed and well respected in urban areas of Senegal. In rural areas, land registration procedures are slow and uncertain and land titles in rural areas are based on traditional rules. Businesses accordingly report insufficient confidence in the enforcement of the country’s property rights. The legal defense of property rights is unsatisfactory due to shortcomings in the judiciary including a lack of trained judges which has led to arbitrary and inconsistent judgments. The Senegalese government has developed a new model to resolve conflicts between customary tenure and formal land ownership, but these have not been widely implemented as of yet. Senegalese law allows for expropriation through the use of eminent domain justifications, provided compensation is paid to land owners.

Registering property takes longer and costs significantly more than the Sub-Saharan Africa average.

Tax Administration 

There is a moderate risk of corruption when dealing with Senegal’s tax administration. Businesses in Senegal indicate that irregular payments and bribes sometimes occur when paying taxes; one in ten businesses indicate that they expect to give gifts when meeting with tax officials.Tax regulations and tax rates rank among the most problematic factors for business. The generous system of tax exemptions have at times been abused by high officials in the country for personal gains for themselves and their friends. Tax evasion and corruption have impacted the collection of tax receipts in Senegal. In 2016, Senegal signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters in an effort to step up its fight against tax evasion.

Senegal ranks among the worst countries in the world in terms of paying taxes; the time and number of payments needed to pay taxes are significantly higher than Sub-Saharan Africa averages

Public Procurement 

There is a high risk of experiencing corruption in Senegal’s procurement process. Companies indicate that diversion of public funds due to corruption and favoritism in the decisions of government officials are both common. Bribes and irregular payments are common in the process of awarding government contracts. About one in five companies expects to give gifts when securing a government contract. In addition, Senegal’s procurement procedures lack accountability and are considered questionable despite recent reforms.

Tenders are still frequently awarded to directly. The share of directly negotiated agreements has reached twenty percent in 2014. When the number of bidders able to provide a given service or good is very limited, the tendering authority may negotiate an agreement directly with a company; this particularly happens in the provision of new technologies. Large tenders can be problematic; they are increasingly broken up into smaller tenders to avoid the more stringent rules associated with large tenders.

The Public Market Regulatory Authority (ARMP) publishes a list of irregularities found in procurement processes each year, but it is apparent that repercussions rarely affect the careers of the officials involved nor do they change the procedures of the institutions in question. Companies sanctioned for corruption offenses are prohibited from bidding on future contracts; however, public entities found guilty of irregularities in the tendering process are not held liable. There is a need for more e-procurement and better training of ARMP staff in order to reduce corruption risks.

Natural Resources 

Companies face a high risk of corruption in Senegal’s natural resources sector. The monitoring, testing, enforcement and sanctioning capacities of the government for environmental management and mine closure remain weak. Financial statements related to natural resource exploitation are not readily available to the general public. Deforestation by illegal timber traffickers is a major problem in Senegal which the government has been unable to stop. Authorities may be complicit; in one case a local mayor tried to report on illegal deforestation in a nearby forest reserve to the government, yet the official overseeing the case tried to bribe him to stay quiet. Senegal’s joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2014, and is set to be evaluated against the standard for the first time in late 2017. As part of this effort, Senegal introduced a new Mining Code in 2016 which aims to improve transparency.