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UK slips to 16th place in “corruption index”

24 Sep 08

The UK has fallen from 12th to 16th place in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures how “clean” a country is seen to be in its dealings at home and abroad.

Transparency International, an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting against corruption worldwide, publishes an annual index measuring perceived levels of corruption in different countries. The higher the score, the cleaner the country is perceived to be.

This year, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden share the highest score at 9.3, followed immediately by Singapore at 9.2. Bringing up the rear is Somalia at 1.0, slightly trailing Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3 and Haiti at 1.4.

The UK has fallen from 12th pace to 16th, level with the Republic of Ireland.

TI said that significant declines can also be seen in the scores of Bulgaria, Burundi, Maldives and Norway. Significant improvements over the last year were identified in Albania, Cyprus, Georgia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Tonga and Turkey.

With countries such as Somalia and Iraq among those showing the highest levels of perceived corruption, TI highlighted what it called “the fatal link” between poverty, failed institutions and graft. Other notable backsliders in the 2008 CPI, the organisation said, indicate that the strength of oversight mechanisms is also at risk among the wealthiest.

“In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “The continuing high levels of corruption and poverty plaguing many of the world’s societies amount to an ongoing humanitarian disaster and cannot be tolerated. But even in more privileged countries, with enforcement disturbingly uneven, a tougher approach to tackling corruption is needed.”

The Transparency International CPI measures the perceived levels of public-sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on different expert and business surveys. The 2008 CPI scores 180 countries (the same number as the 2007 CPI) on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to ten (highly clean).

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