As security forces in Myanmar start to crack down on the biggest protests against military rule in 20 years - the country also has the dubious honour of landing at the bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
The Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog’s 2007 index places Myanmar and Somalia, followed by Iraq, as the countries with the highest levels of public sector corruption - as perceived by business people and analysts.
Meanwhile Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are at the other end of scale, and are the joint top countries with the lowest levels of perceived corruption.
India sits roughly in the middle of the table at place 72 - but its corruption perception rating has gone down slightly since 2006, meaning it’s now seen as slightly less corrupt than twelve months ago.
And while corruption seems to be a problem felt more acutely in poorer countries, the head of Transparency International Germany told a news conference that rich countries have a role to play too. Hansjoerg Elshorst, Head of Transparency International Germany, saying : « The North, that means us, our industry and our banks, are also partly responsible for the problems of the South. There is a clear statement from the Vice-President of Transparency International : Rich countries’ criticism of corruption in poorer countries is not really credible, if their financial institutions manage the wealth that has been stolen from the poorest in the world ».
But what the index doesn’t measure is perceived corruption in business.
Germany remains in 16th place in the survey - but outside the public sector, the country’s business reputation has been tarnished by the ongoing investigation into suspected bribery and corruption at international conglomerate Siemens.
Meanwhile Transparency International demands « action on a broad front » from both richer and poorer countries in the struggle against corruption.
From Reuters for Times Now