"There is no end in sight to the misuse of power by those
in public office - and corruption levels are perceived to be as
high as ever in both the developed and developing worlds,"
said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International, speaking
today on the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2001. "There
is a worldwide corruption crisis. That is the clear message from
the year 2001 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which reflects
the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public
officials and politicians. Scores of less than 5 out of a clean
score of 10 are registered by countries on every continent,"
he said on the publication today of the CPI by Transparency International
This year's index, published by the world's leading non- governmental
organisation fighting corruption, ranks 91 countries. Some of the
richest countries in the world - Finland, Denmark, New Zealand,
Iceland, Singapore and Sweden - scored 9 or higher out of a clean
score of 10 in the new CPI, indicating very low levels of perceived
corruption. But 55 countries - many of which are among the world's
poorest - scored less than 5, suggesting high levels of perceived
corruption in government and public administration. The countries
with a score of 2 or less are Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Kenya,
Indonesia, Uganda, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
The CPI, which TI first launched in 1995, is a poll of polls,
this year drawing on 14
surveys from seven independent institutions. The surveys reflect
the perceptions of business people, academics and country analysts.
The surveys were undertaken over the past three years and no country
has been included in the CPI without results from a minimum of
three surveys. "This prudent approach means that we are unable
to include a number of countries that probably have higher corruption
levels than those included in the CPI," explained Peter Eigen.
"Moreover, for some countries in the CPI, there are only three
or four data sources and wide variations in the individual survey
results. Small differences in ranking between countries should
not be overstated."
"The new Index illustrates once more the vicious circle
of poverty and corruption, where parents have to bribe underpaid
teachers to secure an education for their children and underresourced
health services provide a breeding ground for corruption. The world's
poorest are the greatest victims of corruption," said Peter
Eigen at a press conference in Paris. "Vast amounts of public
funds are being wasted and stolen by corrupt officials," he
TI's chairman said: "HIV AIDS is killing millions of Africans,
and in many of the countries where AIDS is at its deadliest the
problem is compounded by the fact that corruption levels are seen
to be very high. While it is imperative that richer countries provide
the fruits of medical research at an affordable price to address
this human tragedy, it is also essential that corrupt governments
do not steal from their own people. This is now an urgent priority
if lives are to be saved."
The CPI also registers very high levels of perceived corruption
in the countries in transition, in particular the former Soviet
Union. Scores of 3.0 or less were recorded in Romania, Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Peter Eigen noted:
"The leaders of the countries of the former Soviet Union must
do far more to establish the rule of law and transparency in government.
This is crucial to their economic progress, and to the development
of an open society."
While the CPI scores of most leading industrial countries are
quite high, the CPI focuses on corruption involving public officials.
It does not reflect secret payments to finance political campaigns,
the complicity of banks in money laundering or bribery by multinational
companies. Speaking in Washington DC, TI Vice Chairman Frank Vogl
noted: "Corruption in the most prosperous countries in the
world has many manifestations, and Transparency International is
increasing its efforts to stimulate actions to secure greater transparency
in politics, business and banking. We aim to publish a new Bribe
Payers Index in early 2002 to shine the spotlight on the propensity
of western firms to use bribes in emerging market economies."
TI Vice Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz stated in Malaysia: "The
CPI is based on the understanding that a change in the perceived
level of corruption can be measured only by a consistent shift
in behaviour over a number of years. As a result, it may not give
credit to new government leaders who are making determined efforts
to counter years of rampant corruption in their countries. For
example, in recent times we have seen new leaders take the helm
in Nigeria, Mexico and the Philippines intent upon far-reaching
"Relief from the IMF and increases in aid funding are evidence
that the poor ranking of Nigeria in the CPI is recognised internationally
as an inheritance that cannot be overturned in the space of one
or two years," said Tunku Abdul Aziz. "The Nigerian administration
has also made great strides in its quest to recover funds looted
by the late dictator Sani Abacha."