News / USA

Report: Fight Against Corruption Frustratingly Slow

Jim RandleJeff Seldin
An anti-corruption group says Brazil is making progress in fighting corruption while China is passing some laws that eventually might ease the problem. These nations were the exception to Transparency International's assessment that efforts to fight corruption are stalled or losing ground in many cases.

Cambodian motorcycle taxi driver Chum Van says it is just not fair. He said police sometimes put the blame for accidents on poor people, regardless of who is at fault.

Nigerian tailor Ukudi Nawa said corrupt officials make it hard to even turn on the lights. “So that really has a negative impact of my business because it makes me spend more.”

Transparency Corruption Index 2012Transparency Corruption Index 2012
Transparency Corruption Index 2012
Transparency Corruption Index 2012
And she said it angers customers when she then has to raise prices to pay for a generator.  

Nigeria and Cambodia are among 176 nations studied by Transparency International, which found serious official corruption in two-thirds of the countries.

Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa regionTransparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa region
Transparency's Huguette Labelle said the newest study of bribery and other abuses shows few nations improving.

"We have hundreds of millions of people around the world who face daily extortion, and in some countries it can be 50 percent of the population had to pay a bribe to gain access to essential services like water, education, health," she said.

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
Labelle said transparency is a key tool in fighting corruption, and praises Brazil for publishing a daily account of government spending that make it harder to hide abuses. She said the nation also is working on tougher laws to stop corrupt actions by elected officials.

She said China has been prosecuting people on corruption charges, and passing new anti-corruption laws.

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
"They [the Chinese] have been taking a lot of steps, I think now we will see if it has an impact on reducing corruption," said Labelle.

The report lists nations from least to most corrupt. China ranked 80th from the best, Brazil was 69th.

Transparency International, Asia Pacific regionTransparency International, Asia Pacific region
Transparency International, Asia Pacific region
Transparency International, Asia Pacific region
Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand were the least corrupt nations. The United States ranked 19th, which is behind some other wealthy democracies.

That worries Alan Larson, the head of the U.S. Chapter of Transparency International. "I think Americans need to be alarmed and be demanding a response to the fact that 18 countries around the world are seen as having greater integrity built into their institutions and less corruption built into their institutions," he said. 

The worst corruption scores were earned by Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan.

"I think that something for the government to really address and come up with novel methods of fighting corruption so we can get people’s trust and international community," said Afghanistan's Minister of Commerce, Anwar-Ul Haq Ahadi.

While complaints about corruption helped spark the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled governments in the Middle East, the report shows the drastic step of changing leadership has not ended corruption.  

Transparency International bases its annual report on perceptions of corruption on multiple sources of information from businesses, international organizations, and experts around the world.
Everybody has their own perception of what is corruption and what is an acceptable "service charge" for goods and services delivered.

What do you think? Take our short polls to see how your perceptions measure up to our other readers. 

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: Ettore Greco
December 06, 2012 5:44 PM
Communism and Capitalism have both failed as systems of government because of the same illness: corruption.
In a new and long lasting form of government, Trust can no longer be one of its components. All efforts should be made to form a new type of government with new mechanisms that will not require the element of Trust or the promise of a politician to guarantee that the will of the majority will always be reflected in the laws of that government.
This will be a system that could improve in time the already existing possibility of such government today structured through the use of the Internet.
A new form of Democratic government is Commutalism.
Commutalism is a new concept of Democracy without politicians which is organized through the Internet to balance the needs of the Individual with the Respect for Equality.
Commutalism is structured to provide the necessary goods for the survival of everyone and introduces at the same time a new transparent form of Capitalism to trade all those goods which are not necessary, like in a market open to the competition of all superfluous goods.
For the sake of transparency, this new type of Capitalism would rule that each single transaction must be reported on the Net to become visible like an invoice made public and taxable at the origin with one fix percentage applied for everyone.
In such system, all private properties and their owners like also all money transactions and trades of private property must be publicly reported on the Net. This is to prevent unlawful transactions and root out corruption through the immediate confiscation of those goods that have not been reported.
Moreover, to reduce Greed and restore the financial equilibrium worldwide, it will be enough to eliminate the concept of inheritance. The private property of the people will return to the State after the death of each person to be auctioned among all citizens. People could spend as much as they want to educate their children but inheritance and donations would not be allowed.
Once the survival is guaranteed for everybody there will be no need to be as tolerant with crime as we are today when the crime is a consequence of our corrupted system.
In Commutalism, the right to own must be protected and guaranteed also for those who want to work and trade their own Time to obtain more than just the basic necessities provided by the system.

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
December 06, 2012 4:42 PM
The United States is pursuing a decency agenda, and this will inevitably be a blazing success worldwide. Those who oppose it will just be left in the dark.

by: German from: Orlando
December 06, 2012 10:57 AM
Seems that no one look the corruption in the USA, here is legal and is call Lobbying......What about Cook everyone knows corruption is rampant in the country, that is why a jet fighter plane cost 200 million a copy we should be Number One in the list.!!!

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 06, 2012 5:42 AM
This is an interesting article. It would be more helpful if Jim Randle could at least gave us some information with regards to the criteria as to the manner this rankings are based on and also based on what parameters.
In Response

by: WCL from: Moncton, Canada
December 07, 2012 8:47 AM
To Redcliff

Here is the actual website of the organization. The criteria and many details can be found there.

by: WJP from: Californiaq
December 06, 2012 3:44 AM
How about USA ? The entire Washington DC , system of taxation,
if fact the whole "democracy" is nothing but corruption.

by: r.u.crazy from: Texas
December 05, 2012 6:29 PM
I'm sure the corruption here in the U.S. makes Brazil look like a Boy Scout troop.

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