Tackling corruption (picture by Shutterstock)
Transparency International (TI) released it’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) today, the most recent report in a body of work that has been going on since 1995.
The report seems particularly relevant in a year that has been plagued by corruption, with several world leaders being forced to step down from power amid allegations of wrong doing.
The index ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt the country’s public sector is perceived to be. Ranks are decided on the basis of a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption conducted with analysts, businesspeople and country experts. This method is used because corruption generally encompasses illegal activities – such as bribes and vote rigging- making a compilation of empirical evidence impossible.
The UK came 17th in the CPI this year, ranking lower than the business and banking centres of Singapore, Barbados and Hong Kong. This clearly a sign that more needs to be done to fight the scurge, even in our own back yard.
Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.
TI’s Executive Director, Chandu Krishnan noted; ‘Despite the passing of the Bribery Act, and measures to improve transparency in government, the perception of experts is that the UK continues to be more vulnerable to corruption than the political establishment is willing to admit.
‘The steady stream of political scandals has exposed a worrying complacency at the heart of UK politics. Until the Government acts with urgency to put a cap on party funding and introduce tougher regulation of lobbying and the revolving door, the UK will not be able to rise higher in global anti-corruption league tables.’
In total two thirds of the 176 countries ranked scored under 50 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) – 100 (very clean). The highest score was 90, reached by Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.
Within the EU, the countries struggling with sovereign debt crises – Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain fared relatively poorly – with Greece the EU’s worst performer. Citizens there have reported they pay more, and higher, bribes than anyone else in Europe.
China – the world’s second biggest economy and a powerhouse of global growth continued to languish well down in the rankings at number 80, with a score of 39 points.
The survey also found that many of the countries where cizitens have challeged their leaders to stop corruption have seen their positions in the index stagnate or fall. So is the case in Arab Spring nations including Egypt.
Click here for infographics on Transparency International’s 2012 CPI index.
The organisation added; ‘Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds.
‘Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims.’
Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making, according to TI. They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.
‘After a year with a global focus on corruption, we expected more governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power.’ TI said on release of the report; ‘The Corruption Perceptions Index results demonstrate that there are still many societies and governments that need to give a much higher priority to this issue.’
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