Dropping two points to score 69 on The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), recently released by Transparency International, the U.S. had its worst score in eight years.
The Index draws from over a dozen independent expert assessments and surveys to measure perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. Scores on the CPI range from zero (very corrupt) to 100 (not corrupt).
“Weaknesses in our laws are being exploited by a growing list of bad actors at home and abroad,” said Gary Kalman, director of the new U.S. office of Transparency International, in a statement.
“From foreign despots to terror networks, drug cartels to human traffickers, some of the world’s most destructive forces are benefiting from gaps in U.S. law,” added Kalman. “Multiple corruption scandals in the last year alone have shown that transnational corruption is often facilitated, enabled, or perpetuated by countries toward the top of the Index, including the United States. Fortunately, bipartisan legislation currently before Congress, the ILLICIT CASH Act and the Corporate Transparency Act, would go a long way toward stopping these interests from using the U.S. as a laundromat for their dirty cash.”
From a global perspective, more than two-thirds of countries and territories score below 50, with an average score of 43. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their scores, while 21 have declined significantly.
“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “Governments around the world must urgently address the corrupting role of special interest money in campaign financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”
To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems. Transparency International recommends:
- Manage conflicts of interest.
- Control political financing.
- Strengthen electoral integrity.
- Regulate lobbying activities.
- Empower citizens.
- Tackle preferential treatment.
- Reinforce checks and balances.
Corruption, government opacity, and a lack of public accountability are major problems in Guinea-Bissau, problems compounded by the country’s position as a major African hub for drug trafficking. Organized criminal networks involved in illicit trade are widely believed to have permeated all levels of the state apparatus. The country’s legal and institutional anti-corruption frameworks remain inadequate, and despite some attempts at reform, anti-corruption efforts rarely go beyond lip service.
9. North Korea
North Korea remains one of the world’s most repressive states. The government restricts all civil and political liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religion. It also prohibits all organized political opposition, independent media, civil society, and trade unions. The government and security agencies systematically extract forced, unpaid labor from its citizens— including women, children, detainees, and prisoners—to build infrastructure, implement projects, and carry out activities and events extolling the ruling Kim family and the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Severe shortages of medicines, medical supplies, and food leave many Venezuelans unable to feed their families adequately or access essential healthcare. The massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing repression and shortages represents the largest migration crisis of its kind in recent Latin American history. Other persistent concerns include poor prison conditions, impunity for human rights violations, and harassment by government officials of human rights defenders and independent media outlets.
7. Equatorial Guinea
Corruption, poverty, and repression of civil and political rights continued to undermine human rights in Equatorial Guinea. A high level corruption, and serious human rights violations persist, including repression of civil society groups and opposition politicians, torture, and unfair trials.
Sudan is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging environments for anti-corruption in the world. Corruption is present in all sectors and across all branches and levels of government: public servants are known to demand bribes for services that individuals or companies are legally entitled to; government officials hold direct and indirect stakes in many enterprises, which distorts the market through patronage and cronyism; and the head of state and government is believed to have embezzled up to US$9 billion from oil revenues.
Corruption in Afghanistan undermines the provision of basic services, enables the production and trafficking of narcotics and fuels instability. In the short term, official development assistance has prevented the collapse of the Afghan state’s core functions. However, donors’ highly fragmented, poorly executed stabilization and democratization measures have strengthened structures of neo-patrimonial governance and allowed parallel structures of service delivery to develop.
Across the country, civilians suffer from a lack of basic services, a spiraling economic crisis, abusive local security forces, and broken governance, health, education, and judicial systems. Yemen’s economy, already fragile prior to the conflict, has been gravely affected. Hundreds of thousands of families no longer have a steady source of income, and many public servants have not received a regular salary in several years. The country’s broken economy has worsened the humanitarian crisis.
Human Rights Watch found that the government restricts the access of humanitarian organizations to communities that need or allegedly receive aid, selectively approves aid projects, and imposes requirements to partner with security-vetted local actors. The requirements often mean that the aid is siphoned through the abusive state apparatus, to punish civilian populations it perceives as opponents, and reward those it perceives as loyal or who can serve its interests.
2. South Sudan
South Sudan is struggling with structural obstacles such as a lack of basic infrastructure, the weak development of markets and the lasting level of insecurity. Corruption permeates all sectors of the economy and all levels of the state apparatus and manifests itself through various forms, including grand corruption and clientelistic networks along tribal lines. Since independence, the country has taken steps to promote transparency and accountability to fight corruption, South Sudan’s anti-corruption framework is still in its infancy. Where legal instruments exist, lack of capacity, resources and political will often hamper effective implementation.
Corruption is both one of the leading causes and consequences of endemic political instability in Somalia, which has been ranked bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index every year since 2006. Corruption occurs at all levels in both the public and private sectors, and is a visible and expected form of behaviour. It affects virtually every aspect of the Somali society: from public officials’ misuse of public goods for private gain and the solicitation of bribes in exchange for basic services to the clan-based patronage networks used to obtain employment and political appointments. Businesses have likewise adjusted to the climate of lawlessness, for instance, by avoiding taxes and selling expired food and drugs .
Adwoa Adubia News