LocalNews

Corruption ‘worsens’ in public sector

 

Billy Ntaote

Lesotho’s public sector is more corrupt today than it was in 2014, according to Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released on Wednesday.

According to the index’s report released on 27 January in Berlin, Germany, Lesotho recorded a sharp decline in the rating for the year 2015, with a score of 44 compared to 49 in 2014. The score ranges between 0-100, and the lower the country on the scale, the more corrupt its public sector is perceived to be.

With its current score, Lesotho now ranks 61st among the 168 countries evaluated.

The CPI draws on data sources from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis.

According to the index, the biggest improvers were Austria, Czech Republic, Jordan and Kuwait while Brazil, Guatemala and Lesotho were among the worst performers.

Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries on the 2015 index scored below 50, which Transparency International chair José Ugaz said was unfortunate.

“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough,” Mr Ugaz noted in a statement.

“The 2015 Corruption Perception Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.”

Meanwhile, the index indicated that Denmark took top spot for the second year running, with North Korea and Somalia the worst performers, scoring just eight points each.

According to the index, top performers share key characteristics that include high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where 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 that are truly independent from other parts of government.

On the other hand the index showed the lowest ranking countries are characterised by conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions such as the police and judiciary, and lack of independence in the media.

“From Ebola to terrorism, we’ve seen corruption exacerbate crises during 2015 in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Chantal Uwimana, TI Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Forty out of the region’s 46 countries show a serious corruption problem and there is no improvement for continental powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa. If corruption and impunity are to ‘be a thing of the past’ as the African Union stated, governments need to take bold steps to ensure rule of law is the reality for everyone,” said Uwimana.

 

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