[JURIST] Stable, wealthier countries like Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand have the least perceived corruption and poorer, less stable countries like Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia have the most, according to government accountability advocacy group Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website] in a report published Tuesday. TI's 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) [press release, PDF; TI materials], was a survey-based study of perceived governmental corruption in 180 states. TI called for international support to allow poorer countries to institute oversight reforms and anti-corruption enforcement, and for wealthier countries which have fallen in the rankings, most notably the UK [Deutsche Welle report], to take the threat of corruption more seriously. TI chair Huguette Labelle said that not only does poverty lead to corruption, but that the corruption itself often worsens economic and humanitarian problems in the most vulnerable countries:
In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play... The continuing high levels of corruption and poverty plaguing many of the worlds societies amount to an ongoing humanitarian disaster and cannot be tolerated. But even in more privileged countries, with enforcement disturbingly uneven, a tougher approach to tackling corruption is needed.AFP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.
In line with the report's claim that corruption is an endemic international problem, corruption allegations and investigations have recently made headlines around the world. Last week, Thabo Mbeki [official profile] announced [JURIST report] that he would resign as president of South Africa in the wake of claims that he had interfered in a corruption case against political rival and current African National Congress [party website] leader Jacob Zuma [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne [official profile] promised [JURIST report] to "take swift action to restore the public trust" following an investigation which found corruption in the country's Department of the Interior (DOI) [official website; JURIST news archive]. In Thailand, the country's Supreme Court has put former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] on trial for corruption. Chinese authorities are waging a continuing campaign against official corruption [JURIST news archive] in that country.