Bangladesh among most corrupt despite anti-graft drive

September 24th, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 24 (IANS) Twenty months of an anti-graft drive by the military-backed caretaker government has made only a marginal difference to the perception about corruption prevailing in Bangladesh, which has been ranked among the top 10 corrupt nations in a global index. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said the shift in position bears almost no significance in terms of reining in corruption and added that it was rather the result of a decline in other countries’ status.

Bangladesh has jumped up three positions to 147 with 2.1 points in the annual global corruption perception index (CPI) of the Transparency International with a mere 0.1-point increase. Kenya, Russia and Syria have scored the same.

The anti-graft drive by the government of Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed led to the detention of two former prime ministers, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, over 200 former ministers, lawmakers, officials and businessmen.

Most of them have been released on bail by courts that have questioned the government’s rules and procedures.

There is also a political reason as the country prepares for the parliamentary polls in December.

The international anti-corruption watchdog’s Bangladesh officials blamed three factors for the country’s poor score - absence of administrative reforms, influence on the judiciary, and insecurity and uncertainty in business and investment, The Daily Star newspaper reported.

“Point-one increase is not at all statistically significant,” Muzaffer Ahmad, chairman of TIB board of trustees, told media Tuesday.

Pointing to an apparent failure in maintaining the integrity of the legal process, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said: “If the oversight institutions could work properly, for example, if the judiciary were not influenced, Bangladesh’s position could have been better in the index.”

He said that at one point of the anti-corruption drive, no graft accused got bail although they were expected to. “But in a completely opposite scene later, we saw the accused being freed from jail on bail as if it was a procession,” he added.

Somalia remains at the bottom of the list as the most corrupt country like last year, jointly followed by Myanmar and Iraq. Haiti is in third position while Afghanistan is fourth from the bottom.

Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden have jointly ranked as the least corrupt countries with 9.3 points. Singapore followed them with 9.2 points, and Finland and Switzerland with 9 points.

The only other Asian country among the top 20 least corrupt countries is Hong Kong, which ranked 12th with 8.1 points.

Among the other South Asian countries, Pakistan ranked 14th from the bottom, Nepal 16th, the Maldives 17th, Sri Lanka 21st, India 22nd and Bhutan 36th.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |