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.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs