New Poll Shows Many Leading Exporters Using Bribes
Transparency International Releases the Year 2000 Corruption Perceptions Index
New index is based on multiple surveys from 1998-2000
"Our index is a vital reminder to the international community that far more must urgently be done to fight bribery," says TI Chairman Peter Eigen.
Berlin, September 13, 2000
Transparency International, stating that its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a valuable reminder that corruption remains widespread in very large numbers of countries, today issued the year 2000 CPI ranking 90 countries.
"Corruption takes many forms and is a universal cancer," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), the world's leading anti-corruption organization. He stressed that: "Our new index again shows that corruption is widely seen to be very high in many countries. On the eve of the Olympic Games, too, it is worth recalling the bribery scandal that enmeshed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the fact that some of the leaders of the bribe-scarred IOC are still running the show. Then, we must not forget as we publish our new index here in Germany that all the details of the secret party political payments in Chancellor Kohl's era have still not been disclosed."
TI, founded in 1993, now has National Chapters in more than 70 countries. The Corruption Perceptions Index, which TI first launched in 1995, ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. The 2000 CPI is a composite index, drawing on 16 surveys from 8 independent institutions. The surveys embrace the perceptions of business people, the general public and country analysts. The surveys were undertaken over the last three years and no country is included in the CPI unless there are results from a minimum of three surveys.
Dr. Eigen noted that: "The CPI 2000 should remind everyone that the fight against corruption dare not be relaxed. We all yearn for improvement, but positive change only comes slowly when the enemy is endemic corruption. Perceptions of levels of corruption do not change greatly from one year to the next. Positive results are only going to emerge from tireless and consistent multi-year efforts."
However, the conditions which could promote more transparent practices are themselves changing. Dr. Eigen noted that countries responsible for the bulk of world exports have passed national laws making corporate bribe-paying to foreign public officials a criminal offence. Numerous developed countries have also launched initiatives against money laundering, while awareness is growing in export credit agencies and development assistance agencies that challenging corrupt practices is vital.
TI's Chairman added: "Critical to success is public pressure, and we are seeing in opinion polls and election campaigns that the public at large in rising numbers of countries is becoming increasingly intolerant of leaders who abuse their public office for their personal gain. Our National Chapters are at work around the globe and they are making a difference. We encourage everyone to learn more about the progress being achieved by reading our new Transparency International Annual Report 2000, which we are posting on our website today."
The fact that change takes time is poignantly illustrated by the CPI 2000, which shows Nigeria in last position. Dr. Eigen said: "Valiant efforts are being made by President Olusagan Obasanjo to force full-scale changes in a country whose people have been robbed by the grand corruption of their past leaders. But, the process of change initiated by the new President is barely 12 months old and so it is not surprising that Nigeria's CPI score is virtually unchanged."
TI's chairman added: "The eyes of the world are on President Obasanjo, a former Advisory Council chairman of TI, who was imprisoned by the former Nigerian Government of General Abacha because of his pro-democracy and anti-corruption views. President Clinton has just visited Nigeria and joins a growing list of world leaders who recognize that the country needs assistance. Nigeria must have debt relief and IMF and World Bank support, as well as international business support, to get its economy going again and set the conditions that will realistically make it possible to wage a sustained successful attack on the entrenched bastions of corruption. TI is pledged to assist President Obasanjo's courageous anti-corruption drive."
TI said that the public needs to be aware of the damage wrought by corruption. It noted the Gallup International 2000 Millennium Survey, which interviewed about 57,000 people in 60 countries and found that where corruption is at its worst, disillusionment with democracy is at its highest. This is shown to be particularly so in Central and Eastern Europe. The Gallup International survey shows that the democratic gains of the past decade are quite literally at risk, said TI.
CPI only shows one side of corruption
TI has always stressed that corruption is not just the product of public officials taking bribes (the corruption aspect highlighted in the CPI), which is widely seen to be particularly serious in many developing countries and countries in transition, as again reflected in the CPI 2000. To correct this impression and to highlight the bribe-giving side of the corruption coin pursued by international corporations and domestic businesses, TI published a Bribe Payers Index (BPI) last year and a detailed set of survey results on perceptions of bribe paying in January of this year. Because of the importance of this kind of information, TI will undertake a new and comprehensive survey into bribe paying in 2001.
Peter Eigen stated: "Highlighting the bribe-paying side of the corruption equation is important right now. First, many of the street protests that we are seeing at major conferences, which started in Seattle last November, reflect distrust of globalisation and the role of business in the international economy. Transparency in business dealings is more important than ever and corporations should see the protests as a challenge to them to act with integrity. Second, this year we have seen an increasing number of countries ratify the 1999 OECD Anti-Corruption Convention, but it is urgent that they now enforce it and that companies demonstrate that they are in compliance."
New CPI is a rolling Index based on 1998-2000 data
The CPI is based on the understanding that levels of corruption are not sharply changed by short-term actions, while perceptions of corruption may fluctuate significantly based on highly visible events. TI Executive Director Jeremy Pope explained that: "The CPI is a poll of polls conducted over a period of three years. The new CPI is based on surveys for the 1998-2000 period. This multi-year approach is more accurate and realistic. The rankings fail to fully take into account the impact of recent scandals that have damaged perceptions of the integrity environment of a country, nor do the rankings tend to reflect recent efforts by governments to introduce anti-corruption reforms in their countries."
"The rankings are important, but the exact placements of countries should not be given undue weight by the press," said Mr. Pope. "We only have good enough polling data for about one-half of the world's nations and I believe that there are many countries which, if we had the numbers, would rank even below the lowest countries on today's new CPI. As can be seen in the attached tables, for some countries there are only a few data sources and wide differences in the data results. In such cases, in particular, small differences in ranking between countries should not be overestimated. Comparing the ranking of countries from one year to the next demands care and TI encourages people to review fully the even more detailed data from the sources that are available on the TI website."
This year's CPI covers 90 countries, compared to 98 last year. Some countries had to be dropped because there was insufficient 1998-2000 data. For example, some of the surveys used in the CPI are based on international investor attitudes and if a country is widely seen to no longer interest investors, then some survey sources may drop that country in their polling. The message is clear: dropping out of the CPI for lack of data may be bad news for countries and may indicate reduced investor interest stimulated by enhanced perceptions of widespread corruption in these countries.
TI Chairmen Eigen said: "We are building on our CPI work. We recognise that more organisations are now researching corruption and we welcome this. At TI we are strengthening our knowledge at the international level and through initiatives undertaken by our national Chapters, and we have started developing a Global Corruption Report, which we plan to publish in conjunction with the CPI and the BPI next year."
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