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

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs