ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014 has improved and the Transparency International (TI), which released the report on Tuesday, has expressed the hope that Islamabad will work more vigorously to combat the menace.

The TI described Pakistan’s CPI score of 29 out of 100 and ranking of 126 among 175 countries as the best. The country has never achieved this distinction since the first CPI was issued in 1995.

Pakistan had secured the score of 28 and was ranked 127th among 177 countries in 2013, according to statistics released by Berlin-based non-profit organisation committed to promoting accountability, integrity and transparency.

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The report observes that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fizzle out when leaders and high-level officials abuse power to misappropriate public funds for personal gain.

In the 20th edition of the CPI, scores for China (36), Turkey (45) and Angola (19) were among the biggest fallers with a drop of four or five points, despite average economic growth of more than four per cent over the last four years.

More than two-thirds of the 175 countries in the CPI-2014 have scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Denmark comes out on top of the list this year with a score of 92 and North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight.

The scores of several countries rose or fell by four points or more. The biggest falls were in Turkey (-5) and Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda (-4). The biggest improvers were Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (5) and Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland (4).

China’s score fell to 36 in 2014 from 40 of last year though its government has launched an anti-corruption campaign targeting public officials. The government has recognised the need for holding those officials accountable who hide ill-gotten money abroad.

This January, leaked documents exposed 22,000 offshore clients from China and Hong Kong, including many of the country’s leaders.

The score matches a poor performance by Chinese companies in the TI’s recent report on corporate practices, in which the eight Chinese companies scored less than three out of 10 marks.

Corruption and money laundering are also problems for other BRIC countries -- Brazil, India and China.

The report has raised questions over the use of secret companies by a major oil company to bribe politicians in Brazil (which scores 43) and about Indians (38) using bank accounts in Mauritius (54) and Russians (27) doing the same in Cyprus (63).

The TI has called upon countries at the top of the index, in which public sector corruption is limited, to stop encouraging it in other sectors by doing more to prevent money laundering and disallowing secret companies to hide corruption.

While top performer Denmark has strong rule of law and clear rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions, it has also set an example, announcing plans to create a public register, including beneficial ownership information, for companies incorporated in the country.

Source: Transparency International.  — AFP
Source: Transparency International. — AFP

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2014

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