Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nepal 15th most corrupt country in the world

Nepal is 15th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International (TI).
According to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 published by TI today, Nepal is the 15th most corrupt country globally on the basis of score, and 38th on the basis of ranking, it said, adding that Nepal is also third most corrupt in South Asia, after Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Nepal with a score of 27 – out of 100 – ranks in 130th position among the 168 countries.
Nepal’s image as one the most corrupt countries in the world has taken a further beating as the country has slipped by four positions from last year, states the report titled 'Corruption still rife but 2015 saw pockets of hope'. Last year Nepal was placed 126th with a score of 29. Bhutan – the least corrupt country in the region – ranks 27 with a score of 65.
According to the report, overall weak governance and politics has dragged Nepal down.
Bhutan – the least corrupt country in the region – ranks 27 with a score of 65. In South Asia, India (76th position with a score of 38) ranks second – after Bhutan, Sri Lanka third Sri Lanka (83rd position with a score of 37) and Pakistan (117th position with a score of 30) ranks fourth, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh (139th position with a score of 25) and Afghanistan (166th position with a score of 11), states the report that has not listed Maldives in the index.
Nepal’s slip in ranking in the CPI has been attributed largely to public servants’ abuse of authority for personal gains and weak control over public servants.
“The survey shows action taken against public servants involved in abusing authority was weak,” said TI-Nepal’s president Bharat Bahadur Thapa, while releasing the CPI report in Kathmandu. “It indicates strong inclination among civil servants towards abusing authority for personal gains."
The performance of all the 3 state organs – judiciary, bureaucracy and legislature – has been reflected poorly in the TI survey. "It demonstrates government’s total indifference towards fighting corruption," Thapa said, adding that the rare commitments made by the government to adopt zero tolerance on corruption proved nothing but lip service.
Grand corruption is the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society, the TI report reads, adding that it often goes unpunished. "Nepal continues to perform poorly and has been one of the most corrupt countries."
Conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions like the police and the judiciary, and a lack of independence in the media characterise the lowest ranked countries like Nepal.
Similarly, top performers share some key characteristics like high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where the money comes from and how it is spent, high levels of integrity among people in power and judiciaries that don't differentiate between rich and poor and are truly independent from other parts of government," the report states.
The annual survey by the Berlin-based watchdog said the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)  measures the extent of corruption within a country, on a scale ranging from zero to 100. Countries securing higher scores are rated as the least corrupt and the low scorers are perceived to be the most corrupt. Countries with a score below 50 are perceived as highly corrupt and those that secure 100 are the cleanest, according to TI. Among the lowest 38 countries most of the countries scores are equal making Nepal 15th most corrupt country in the world. Cameroon, Iran, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Ukraine also have scored equal to Nepal, and are 15th most corrupt countries on the basis of score.
Controlling corruption in Nepal remained a herculean task, with the anti-graft body officials themselves have been caught in bribery scandals and commissioners found taking dual state facilities. On top of that, there have been widespread allegations that the anti-graft body has been protecting the corrupt state oil monopoly as the Nepal Oil Corporation is involved in institutional corruption largely supported by the CPN-UML president and Prime Minister K P Oli, UCPN-Maoist supremo Puspa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', and the anti-graft agency's chief.
Experts see this grim situation, despite having 16 anti-corruption agencies including Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), as a systematic breakdown of rule of law. Nepal has broken the record of 2011, when it was ranked 154th among 182 surveyed countries, with a score of 2.2 on a scale of 0 to 10. Nepal last year was ranked 126th, out of 175 countries surveyed, with a score of 29.
A country's score can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption, and public institutions that don't respond to citizens' needs. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is based on expert opinions concerning public sector corruption.
Nepal has failed to improve either its country-wise ranking or its score in the index which shows Denmark to be the least corrupt country with a score of 91. Denmark (score 91), Finland (score 90), Sweden (score 89), New Zealand (score 88) and the Netherlands (score 87) are the five best performers, respectively, whereas Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan are the worst performers.
Afghanistan ranks as the third most corrupt country globally after North Korea and Somalia,  and as the most corrupt country in South Asia, the report further shows.
The big decliners in the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey. The big improvers include Greece, Senegal and the UK.
Corruption can be beaten, if we work together, the TI report has said, adding, "To stamp out the abuse of power and bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough."
"The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world," said chair of TI José Ugaz. "But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption," he said, adding that people across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.

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