S’pore ranks among the world’s least corrupt nations

Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand share the honour of being the world’s least corrupt countries, ahead of Singapore in fourth position and Finland and Switzerland in joint fifth, an international watchdog group said in its annual survey.

Somalia is perceived as the world’s most corrupt country followed closely by Myanmar, Iraq and Haiti, according to Transparency International’s (TI) annual Corruption Perceptions Index released yesterday.

The annual index measures perceived levels of public sector corruption as seen by business people and country analysts in 180 countries.

Somalia, the east African nation without a functioning government since 1991, scored just 1.0 on TI’s scale, which ranges from zero, which is highly corrupt, to 10, which is very clean. Myanmar, which received international condemnation for its heavy-handed crackdown on protests in last September, was on 1.3 points, as was Iraq, five years after a United States-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

The places where officials were seen as least likely to line their pockets were Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand ˜ all shared first place with a score of 9.3 points ˜ ahead of Singapore with a score of 9.2 in fourth, and Finland and Switzerland with 9.0 in joint fifth.

Last year, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand shared the top spot.

TI also separately ranked the countries surveyed by region and Singapore was ranked second among a total of 32 Asia-Pacific countries and territories.

With 22 out of the 32 countries in the Asia-Pacific scoring below 5, TI said the scores indicate a serious corruption problem in these countries’ public sectors.

The watchdog added that corruption and the lack of transparency, particularly in political financing, remain serious challenges across the Asia-Pacific region.

TI was also critical of some wealthy nations that registered significant drops in the global rankings, such as Britain which dropped to 16th in the rankings from 12th last year, and Norway which slipped to 14th from ninth.

In addition, TI highlighted the weakening performance of some wealthy exporting countries in reining in what it described as “the questionable methods of their companies in acquiring and managing overseas business”.

Source : Today – 24 Sep 2008

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