Nigeria is now the 44th most corrupt nation on earth

Nigeria scored 2.5, is ranked 130thand is in 137th position out of 180 countries in the annual “corruption index” released Tuesday, November 17, from Transparency International. Ghana scored 3.9 and is ranked 69th. It means Nigeria is now the 44th most corrupt Nation on earth (an improvement of 3 places over the previous years) while the UK is now more corrupt than countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Austria.

Nigeria’s CPI index in the span of an eight year period dating back to 2001 did not improve until 2006 when it ranked 142nd out of 163 countries. Before then the country ranked second to last for four years consecutively with its lowest CPI ranking in 2001 at 1.0.

In report which has been published since 1995, Transparency International gave the UK a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score of 7.7. Before 2008, the UK’s score had never slipped below 8. TI found that Britain had slipped one place to 17th

The U.S. slipped a notch to 19th place from 18th, even though the country’s score climbed to 7.5 from 7.3. Transparency cited “widespread concerns” about American oversight of the financial sector. U.S. administrations and Congress have failed to strengthen regulation of executive pay, derivatives trading and bankruptcy protection, Valerian said.

In Africa according to the index; Cameroon, Angola, Kenya, Sudan Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivorie among others is  more corrupt that Nigeria.

While Nigeria is perceived to be more corrupt than South Africa, Libya, Ghana and Mali among others.

Bangladesh, Philippines, Venezuela, Russia, Pakistan and Iran among others is more corrupt than Nigeria

What is the Corruption Perceptions Index?

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. The CPI is a “survey of surveys”, based on 13 different expert and business surveys.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) table shows a country’s ranking and score, the number of surveys used to determine the score, and the confidence range of the scoring.

The rank shows how one country compares to others included in the index. The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public-sector corruption in a country/territory.

The CPI is based on 13 independent surveys. However, not all surveys include all countries. The surveys used column indicates how many surveys were relied upon to determine the score for that country.

The confidence range indicates the reliability of the CPI scores and tells us that allowing for a margin of error; we can be 90% confident that the true score for this country lies within this range.

In a previous Nigeria survey, Participants disagreed with the findings that the police are the most corrupt public service; they rather pointed to the Presidency, followed by the National Assembly, as the most corrupt institutions.

The debates also led to concrete recommendations and steps to be taken at the national level to tackle corruption and improve governance.

Some suggestions included support for public education initiatives, institution of better controls on elected officials, or re-introduction of competitive examinations for public service employment and other ideas to increase transparency.

See the full table:

The Secretary General of Transparency ln Nigeria (TIN), an affiliate of the international coalition, Mr. Osita Ogbu, lamented that the nation was sliding in the corruption war.

He observed that last year, the country was rated 39th in 2008 with a total score of 2.7. He acknowledged the passage of some anti-graft legislations by government, but said it has not demonstrated any political will to fight corruption.

The government is only paying lip service to the fight against corruption. There is a reign of impunity in the land, which the Attorney General of the Federation has called ‘the rule of law,'” he said.

While urging the National Judicial Council to discipline erring officers, the secretary general accused the judiciary of constituting one of the stumbling blocks to the anti-corruption efforts in the country by granting reckless and questionable injunctions restraining the anti-corruption agencies from either investigating or prosecuting some persons.

Ogbu argued that absence of electoral accountability in Nigeria allows other forms of corruption to thrive, noting that nobody has been punished for their role in the “fundamentally flawed 2007 elections,” even as the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission has continued to conduct other flawed bye-elections.

The group accused the Federal Government of taking steps that could be interpreted as undermining the electoral reform process, arguing that its rejection of key recommendations of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee indicated this.

TIN decried wage dichotomy between political office holders and public servants, noting that the remuneration of Nigeria’s political office holders was the highest globally while that of their counterparts in public service was the least.

Speaking further, he argued that Nigeria required more serious effort and commitment to the fight against corruption as the recent crisis in the banking sector has shown the ineffectiveness of the regulatory framework. 

Transparency international says corruption has broadened worldwide as world leaders’ efforts to fight the international recession lose steam, a Transparency International official said.

Group of 20 leaders haven’t exploited initiatives meant to steady the world economy to also reduce worldwide corruption levels, Francois Valerian, director of Transparency International’s private sector programs, said in an interview.

“The sense of urgency that we had last fall seems to have vanished, for the very simple reason that the capital markets seem to have recovered,” Valerian said yesterday by phone from Berlin, where the non-governmental organization is based. “Our concern is that we are back to business as usual.”

This year’s index, which measures the perception of corruption, showed that 129 of the 180 nations reviewed scored below five on a 0-to-10 scale, with 10 indicating the least corrupt, Transparency said.

New Zealand climbed to the top of the list as the cleanest, followed by Denmark and Singapore. At the bottom were countries burdened by dictatorship, lack of infrastructure or war: Myanmar, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Fraud, Bribes

“Clearly they did not play the role they should have played before the onset of the crisis,” he said.

The Obama administration plans to announce today an effort by government agencies to combat financial fraud, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. The U.S. economic downturn has caused an increase in economic crimes, including mortgage fraud, white-collar crime and health-care fraud, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In industrialized countries, fraud can turn away investors who seek to avoid risk. In developing countries, corruption fuels a cycle of poverty as non-functioning institutions fail to provide goods and services, the group said.

Bribery — Excluding investment losses and damage to development and economic growth — siphons off $1 trillion a year from the global economy, one measure of corruption, Transparency cited a 2004 World Bank Institute report as showing.

The group said corruption is a “substantial threat to a sustainable economic future.”

Regulated Derivatives

Valerian faulted the G-20 for not putting forward plans that go far enough toward increased regulation, such as for derivatives, which he cited as one of the primary causes of the financial crisis. He said the G-20’s Financial Stability Board, which includes the group’s central bankers, regulators and finance ministers, has been tasked with delivering reports rather than ensuring reforms are implemented.

“They’ve done a lot of talking and public discourse,” Valerian said, “but they are falling short of real and quick implementation of what was urgently needed last fall.”

Transparency International lauded the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s initiatives in taking on tax havens, though said there’s little the OECD can do if jurisdictions continue to allow tax evasion, flouting the tax rules of most leading developed countries. At the behest of the G-20, the OECD published a list of countries that haven’t followed through on their promises to play by global tax rules.

More Treaties Needed

“We are giving the OECD the benefit of the doubt,” Valerian said. More treaties need to be signed to exchange data, he said.

Identifying corruption and championing transparency has become more vital in a year when governments increase spending, unleashing “fast-track disbursements of public funds,” Transparency International’s chairwoman, Huguette Labelle, said in a statement.

Countries that improved in their rankings included China, Poland, Russia and Bangladesh — all of which instituted anti- fraud programs. Kazakhstan and Guatemala also improved.

On the downside were Greece and Latvia, which drew attention because of corruption scandals. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine also suffered losses in this year’s index because of shortcomings in the public sector, the group said.

Corruption in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai won a second term in an election marred by fraud, is rampant, driven in part by the opium trade.

“Examples of corruption range from public posts for sale and justice for a price to daily bribing for basic services,” the organization said of Afghanistan.

The index has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of a country’s corruption, an assessment of risks for investors. It’s a composite index that combines data from 10 independent institutions. Valerian said corruption generally has increased.

“We can unfortunately talk of an increase in corruption linked to the globalization of the economy,” Valerian said. 

In the Unietd Kingdom, the non-governmental organisation, which is based in Berlin, blamed the poor showing on a collapse in confidence in politicians triggered by The Daily Telegraph’s revelations about MPs’ expenses.

There was also concern about the lingering failure of the UK to prosecute British companies from paying bribes abroad.

A spokesman said it was the UK’s lowest score since at least 1998. He added: “Transparency International is concerned that the UK’s CPI score has deteriorated in recent years.

“This reflects the damage to its international standing caused by the MPs’ expenses scandal and the weakness of its efforts to prosecute foreign bribery.”

Transparency International also published an “Agenda for Action” in an attempt, it said, “to restore the country’s international reputation as a global leader in the fight against corruption”.

The report suggested that all MPs commit to the Seven Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. If they broke them they should be expelled from their political party.

Chandrashekhar Krishnan, executive director of Transparency International UK, said the Parliamentary Standards’ Commissioner should be on call “24-7” to advise on best practice while MPs should receive “ethical training in their jobs.

He added: “The UK should be aspiring to a CPI score which puts it in the top ten – not struggling to make the top 20. It should demonstrate that its own house is in order before exhorting developing countries to improve their governance.”

Adopting Transparency International’s recommendations could “help the UK to turn the corner and restore its credibility as a champion of good governance both at home and abroad”.

The vast majority of the 180 countries included in the 2009 index scored below five on a scale from – perceived to be highly corrupt – to 10 – perceived to have low levels of corruption.

The least corrupt country of those surveyed was New Zealand, with a score of 9.4, and Denmark, with a score of 9.3, followed by Singapore (9.2), Sweden (9.2) and Switzerland (9.0).

Fragile, unstable states which have been scarred by war were at the bottom of the index. These were: Somalia, with a score of 1.1, Afghanistan at 1.3, Burma at 1.4 and Sudan tied with Iraq at 1.5.

Huguette Labelle, chairman of Transparency International, said it was “essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle”.

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows.

“The international community must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries to develop and sustain their own institutions.”

The index gathered information about the countries from early 2008 and summer this year, which would include the beginnings of the MPs expenses scandal. Analysts said they expected next year’s index to reflect more fully the scandal and its aftermath.

Thd index was calculated using surveys of residents and business leaders, assessments from experts, as well as information from bodies including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Insight and the World Bank.

Meanwhile the Trnasparency International report found Public life is seen as much more corrupt in China, India and Russia than in leading western economies, in a sign of the increasingly stark lines being drawn in the international battle against graft.

The three big emerging markets – which are all criticised for their failure to give stronger backing to global anti-corruption rules – have all finished below 75th place in annual rankings of 180 countries by the campaigning group Transparency International.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2009

The results are likely to add to worries that the lack of tough rules against bribery will lead to damaging free-for-alls between states and multinationals competing for official contracts and resources in Africa and other parts of the world.

Transparency International, which is based in Berlin, said the survey results were of “great concern” because they showed corruption continued to “lurk where opacity rules, where institutions still need strengthening and where governments have not implemented anti-corruption legal frameworks”.

Huguette Labelle, Transparency International chairman, said: “At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle.”

China ranks 79th, India 84th and Russia 146th in the table, which draws on 13 surveys of businesses and experts to give each country a “perception of corruption” score. All but one of the Group of Seven leading western economies come in the top 25, with Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy lagging in 63rd place.

The report comes after leading campaign groups accused China and Russia of leading successful efforts to soften the terms of the UN Convention Against Corruption, the first ever global deal to tackle graft and return assets stolen by corrupt leaders.

India – like Japan and Germany – has yet to even ratify the convention, which has a much wider reach than other existing anti-corruption agreements and puts in place mechanisms for international law enforcement co-operation, information exchange and asset recovery

The TI report, which is widely tracked by governments, companies and development groups, showed mixed results for other strategically important economies, with the United Arab Emirates finishing 30th, South Africa 55th and Brazil 75th. The lower reaches of the index are predictably well populated by countries that are at war or emerging from conflict, with Afghanistan finishing second from last ahead only of Somalia.

The index is widely seen as a useful yardstick on corruption, although its basis on surveys of business perception rather than more objective measures means year-on-year movements of countries can be sharp and at times misleading.

Critics say the TI work inevitably draws heavily on western sources and has to some extent become self-fulfilling, with people forming impressions of corruption partly through reference to the index itself.