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Transparency International Publishes 2006 Corruption Perception Index

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

08 November 2006


The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), launched on Monday by Transparency International (TI), has pointed to a strong correlation between corruption and poverty, with a concentration of impoverished states at the bottom of the ranking.

“Corruption traps millions in poverty,” observed Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle, continuing:

“Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today’s results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.”

The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index that draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.

Almost three-quarters of the countries in the CPI scored below five (including all low-income countries and all but two African states) indicating that most countries in the world face serious perceived levels of domestic corruption. Seventy-one countries - nearly half - scored below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant. Haiti has the lowest score at 1.8; Guinea, Iraq and Myanmar shared the penultimate slot, each with a score of 1.9. Meanwhile, Finland, Iceland and New Zealand shared the top score of 9.6.

Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption included: Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United States. Countries with a significant improvement in perceived levels of corruption included: Algeria, Czech Republic, India, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Mauritius, Paraguay, Slovenia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uruguay.

Transparency International observed that:

"While the industrialised countries score relatively high on the CPI 2006, we continue to see major corruption scandals in many of these countries. Although corruption in this context may have less of an impact on poverty and development than in developing countries, these scandals demonstrate that there is no room for complacency."

The weak performance of many countries indicates that the facilitators of corruption continue to assist political elites to launder, store and otherwise profit from unjustly acquired wealth, which often includes looted state assets. The presence of willing intermediaries – who are often trained in or who operate from leading economies - encourages corruption; it means the corrupt know there will be a banker, accountant, lawyer or other specialist ready to help them generate, move or store their illicit income.

“Firms and professional associations for lawyers, accountants and bankers have a special responsibility to take stronger action against corruption,” stated Transparency International Chief Executive David Nussbaum. “Led by prosecuting attorneys, forensic auditors and compliance officers, they can be the stalwarts of a successful fight against corruption.”

Recommendations included in the report were for:

  • Promotion and, where necessary, adoption of corruption-specific codes of conduct by professional associations for their members, for instance the International Bar Association, International Compliance Association, and professional associations for accountants;
  • Public education to ensure that honest intermediaries better understand their role;
  • Legal or professional sanctions for legal, financial and accounting professionals that enable corruption; and
  • Greater scrutiny of the role of insufficiently transparent financial centres in facilitating corruption.


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