Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Global Corruption Report

Transparency International (TI) has released it's annual global corruption report. Corruption costs businesses and governments more than £220 billion a year, with a number of oil producing states among the worst offenders. Amazingly enough, the Corruption Perceptions Index showed that 106 out of 146 countries scored less than 5 against a "clean" score of 10. Wow, that's a lot of corrupt countries out there. Sixty countries scored less than three, indicating "rampant" levels of bribery. The oil-rich states of Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen all scored "extremely poorly".

It's not all corrupt governments and crooked politicians - lucrative deals signed with Western contractors have also been mired in controversy. Halliburton, the logistics and oil company formerly headed by the US Vice- President Dick Cheney, was accused by the Pentagon of overcharging the US Government tens of millions of dollars. A US Government report last year found "systemic" and "significant" difficiencies in the way Halliburton estimated and validated costs. Nigerian lawmakers are currently holding public hearings into allegations that Halliburton had bribed government officials to secure a gas contract.

The Times (London) has more.

Some highlights from the report itself:

Corruption in large-scale public projects is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and results in a major loss of public funds needed for education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, both in developed and developing countries.

TI urges western governments to oblige their oil companies to publish what they pay in fees, royalties and other payments to host governments and state oil companies. "Access to this vital information will minimise opportunities for hiding the payment of kickbacks to secure oil tenders, a practice that has blighted the oil industry in transition and post-war economies.

Companies from OECD countries must fulfil their obligations under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and stop paying bribes at home and abroad."

And now for the scores, which make for some very interesting reading (10 is the best score):

The least corrupt country in the world is Finland at 9.7, followed by New Zealand (9.6) and Denmark(9.5)

The United States is 17th, along with Ireland and Belgium at 7.5

Botswana is the highest scoring African country at 6.0

South Africa comes in at 44th with a score of 4.6 (We improved slightly from 4.2 the previous year)

Nigeria which has been going all out to convince South Africa that they are not as corrupt as they are perceived to be came out as the second most corrupt country in the world with a score of 1.6

And the award for the most corrupt country in the world goes to, actually it's a joint award, shared by Haiti and Bangladesh at 1.5.

Note:
The Corruption Perceptions Index is a poll of polls, reflecting the perceptions of business people and country analysts, both resident and non-resident. This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index draws on 18 surveys provided to Transparency International between 2002 and 2004, conducted by 12 independent institutions.

According to TI - It is difficult to base comparative statements on the levels of corruption in different countries on hard empirical data, e.g. by comparing the number of prosecutions or court cases. Such cross-country data does not reflect actual levels of corruption; rather it highlights the quality of prosecutors, courts and/or the media in exposing corruption. The only method of compiling comparative data is therefore to build on the experience and perceptions of those who are most directly confronted with the realities of corruption in a country.

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