HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal is the second most corrupt country in South Asia after Afghanistan, with Bhutan being the least corrupt in the region, if one goes by the Corruption Perception Index- 2011 released by Berlin-based Transparency International today.
According to TI, the world’s most credible measure of domestic and public sector corruption, Nepal is ranked 154th with a score of 2.2. It was ranked 146th last year. The index had scored 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. Two thirds of the ranked countries have scored less than five.
A press statement issued by Bishnu Bahadur KC, chairperson, TI-Nepal, states that any country that scores less than three shows that corruption is all-pervasive there.
In South Asia, Bhutan has scored 5.7 followed by Sri Lanka 3.3, India 3.1, Bangladesh 2.7, Maldives 2.5, Pakistan 2.5, Nepal 2.2 and Afghanistan 1.5.
The index is based on expert assessment and data from six international surveys commissioned by six independent institutions, covering issues such as access to information, bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws and their outcome, action against the corrupt, political corruption, and bribery in export and import of goods.
“The cause of rampant corruption in public sectors has been attributed to the government’s lethargic performance to control the financial crime in political transition. It reflects the lack of will power and commitment on the part of the government and political parties to maintain good governance and that anti-graft bodies failed in their job,” said KC.
New Zealand ranks first with a score of 9.5, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the Index for the first time) figure last on the index, with a score of 1.0 each.
TI adds that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.
Homegrown graft at a glance
• CIAA indicted 34 incumbent and former officials of Nepal Police, including three former IGs, in a high-profile corruption amounting Rs. 28.81 crores in the procurement of Armoured Personnel Carriers and logistics for the personnel deputed for the peacekeeping mission under the United Nations flag in Darfur of Sudan
• Supreme Court convicted Nepali Congress leader Chiranjeevi Wagle of corruption and slapped on him 18-month imprisonment and Rs 40.6 million fine
• SC slapped 18-month jail term and Rs 14 million fine on former chief of erstwhile Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation Ramagya Prasad Chaturvedi on corruption charges
• Four lawmakers charged with corruption and abuse of power and authority for selling diplomatic passports for monetary gains