News / Asia

Report: Corruption Remains Widespread Global Problem

Jim RandleJeff Seldin
Anger over corruption has sparked mass demonstrations and even toppled governments in the past few years.  But a global study published Wednesday by Transparency International finds the problem remains widespread. 
In Pakistan, teacher Bashir Bulti says it takes a bribe to get a job.
Cambodian motorcycle taxi driver Chum Van says police sometimes put the blame for accidents on poor people, regardless of who is at fault. 
Transparency Corruption Index 2012Transparency Corruption Index 2012
Transparency Corruption Index 2012
Transparency Corruption Index 2012
Pakistan and Cambodia are among 176 nations studied by the anti-corruption group Transparency International.

The group's Huguette Labelle says a majority of countries have a serious corruption problem. “This translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted to pay bribes to see doctors or get access to clean drinking water," he said. 
She warns that major infrastructure projects in emerging nations, and the work needed to cope with climate change, could be hurt by corruption.  Labelle sees hope in some nations where new laws make it easier for the public to track government spending and offer some protections for people who raise corruption allegations.

Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan received the worst ratings, while Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were rated as the least corrupt countries.

Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa regionTransparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
The United States was 19 places behind the best rating, while China placed 80th, and India 94th.
Complaints about corruption helped spark the Arab Spring uprisings, as massive protests and other actions toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Transparency International, Middle East and North Africa regionTransparency International, Middle East and North Africa region
Transparency International, Middle East and North Africa region
Transparency International, Middle East and North Africa region
But the report shows even the drastic step of changing government has not ended corruption. 

Scholar Robin Wright at the Woodrow Wilson Center is not surprised. 
“Bakshish is a concept that is central to the way of life in the Middle East, bakshish being bribes.  And that hasn’t changed overnight with the introduction of democratic ideals or goals. A Libyan businessman said we used to have one Qaddafi.  Now we have 6 million," she said. 
Transparency International, Eastern Europe and Central Asia regionTransparency International, Eastern Europe and Central Asia region
Transparency International, Eastern Europe and Central Asia region
Transparency International, Eastern Europe and Central Asia region
Scholar Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development says corruption takes many forms, like using a bribe to get a driver's license, job or contract for an unqualified person.

He calls corruption a symptom of poor government, and says bringing the issue to public and official attention will help - eventually. “These changes take changes in norms of behavior, and attitudes across millions of people in the country, so they take time," he said. 
Transparency International, Asia Pacific regionTransparency International, Asia Pacific region
Transparency International, Asia Pacific region
Transparency International, Asia Pacific region
Kenny says corruption causes problems for business when money is diverted into an official’s pocket instead of being spent on roads or energy projects.

Nigerian tailor Ukudi Nawa blames corruption for a faulty public electric supply.  She says customers become angry when she raises her prices to cover the cost of fuel for a backup generator. “So that really has a negative impact of my business because it makes me spend more," he said. 
Transparency International bases its annual report on perceptions of corruption on multiple sources of information from businesses, international organizations, and experts around the world.

Is it Corruption? You Decide

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

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Comment Sorting
by: Christopher Tingus from: Harwich
December 16, 2012 6:19 AM
Truthfully, how can we expect anything from other nations when Hillary Clinton announces on a Friday might in the midst of a terrible tragedy in CT that she has suffered a concussion over the last few days and she will Not be able to testify at the "Benghazi Massacre" Foreign Affairs Committee Hearings - how dare she? How ca we expect others in foreign governments when our own "entrusted" WH and State lie and see themselves above the law - if you are an American citizen with a US passport, see the front pages where Hillary Clinton asks that American have safe passage through foreign nations - her unwillingness for now over three months to stand as forthright with us teh Amwrican People as she was when prostituting her own integrity and standing w/barry Obama at taxpayer expense on Pakistani television touting some flick - some movie few knew about resulting ina Middle East conflagration...well, enough is enough and if necessary, We the People, even if the 50% who voted to oust this WH which continues to undermine our Judeo-Christian values in every is time to subpoena Hillary Cointon to the hearings with her first step out her door - also, a note...every action is done before the Lord and His witness and thes eongoing lies, our tattered Constitution and a new Secretary of State who threw his medals and has been so condescending...America is I am afraid on very shaky grounds even far worse than the unstableness of the shooter in CT for those We "entrust" to serve this beloved Republic, how self-serving and We shall be futher punished by siuch arrogant and divisive demeanor - SUBPOENA HILLRY CLINTON TO THE "BENGAHZI MASSACRE HEARINGS" -

by: Mehdi Alavi, Ph.D. from: USA
December 07, 2012 10:31 PM
Transparency international is commended for its great global service to humanity. According to Peace Worldwide Organization’s Civility Report 2012, no country’s civility score exceeds 80 out of 100. We could all act more responsible and cooperate with one another to make our world a better place for all.

by: elahi from: US
December 07, 2012 9:56 AM
For all third world countries like Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh, sri Lanka. Their crook leaders are very rich makes me wonder what kind of business they are into, and if candidate spend millions of $$ to get elected that mean he/she will expect to make of $$$.

by: Zach Elliott from: WI, US
December 05, 2012 10:10 AM
Though I think the pursuit of transparency and the elimination of corruption are worthy goals, I'm not sure how accurate a picture you're going to get just by asking people how corrupt their govt is. Isn't the most successful corruption that which no one knows about, or that which isn't perceived as corruption? There are other problems, in that corruption can be endemic, and still not be as damaging to society as one, or a few, instance(s) of spectacular corruption. Though I don't believe it involves a govt organ, the LIBOR scandal is an perfect example in that it resulted in the artificial gaming of billions of dollars, with very real implications for millions of people, and yet it is not well known as such and would only be a single instance of corruption

by: Sérgio de Castro Belém from: Brasil
December 05, 2012 8:08 AM
Those corrupt ones in high places have no idea how devastating corruption is to the self-steem of a whole nation.
Brasil has corrupt politicians and public servants in all levels of public services.
Such a shame.

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