[JURIST] Iraq, Haiti, Guinea, and Myanmar rank as the world's most corrupt nations in 2006 according to the latest annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index [corruption index; press release] released Monday. The report shows a strong link between poverty and corruption as perceived by experts, with nearly three-fourths of the 163 ranked countries scoring below a five, the score that indicates concern. Finland, Iceland, and New Zealand scored the highest as the least-corrupt countries. Countries that saw significant improvement since the 2005 results [JURIST report] include India, Japan, Lebanon, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. The US, Cuba, Israel, Jordan, and Brazil sank in the rankings.
The report said:
The weak performance of many countries indicates that the facilitators of corruption continue to assist political elites to launder, store and otherwise profit from unjustly acquired wealth, which often includes looted state assets. The presence of willing intermediaries -- who are often trained in or who operate from leading economies -- encourages corruption; it means the corrupt know there will be a banker, accountant, lawyer or other specialist ready to help them generate, move or store their illicit income.Iraq's decline in the corruption rankings was precipitous this year; last year it ranked 137th. Corruption in the country has been acknowledged as a major problem [JURIST news archive] by Iraqi and international leaders alike. AP has more.