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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Poor 'the victims of world corruption'
Money changing hands
Rich and poor countries are blamed for corruption crisis
Bangladesh is the most corrupt country in the world and Finland the least corrupt, according to a league table issued for the year 2001.

Click here to see the full list

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was published by a non-governmental organisation - Transparency International (TI) - based on a survey of 91 countries.

Most corrupt
Uganda and Indonesia
Kenya, Cameroon, Bolivia and Azerbaijan
Ecuador, Pakistan and Russia

"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 Transparency's chairman, Peter Eigen. "There is a worldwide corruption crisis."

He said the world's poorest were the greatest victims of corruption, but added that many developed nations "are in no position to preach to poorer countries on integrity in government".

Mr Eigen also warned that governments "ignore the index at their peril".

The poor

The annual survey awarded Finland 9.9 points out of a possible 10. Following Finland were Denmark at 9.5 and New Zealand with 9.4.

At the lower end of the scale Bangladesh scored 0.4. Then came Nigeria with one point and Uganda and Indonesia, each at 1.9.

Poor nations in Africa and Asia are seen as the world's most corrupt, followed closely by many former Soviet states in Eastern Europe.

"The new CPI 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 under-resourced health services provide a breeding ground for corruption," the TI chairman said.

A Chinese official in court on charges of corruption
China has executed corrupt officials
The report said that in African countries struggling with Aids the situation was made worse by the fact that corruption was perceived to be very bad.

The CPI registered 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 Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

The 'corrupt' rich

Several developed countries - including European Union members - figure prominenlty in the list which did not reflect "secret payments to finance political campaigns or the complicity of banks in money laundering or bribery by multinational companies".

"The United States and France exemplify that governments in the top third of the index are still plagued by misuses of power," said Laurence Cockcroft, chairman of TI's British branch.

Mr Cockroft referred to the case in France involving former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, who was convicted last month of receiving illegal funds from oil giant Elf Aquitaine between 1989 and 1992.

Many developed nations are in no position to preach to poorer countries on integrity in government

TI Chairman Peter Eigen
"From the loans and campaign contributions scandal at Bankgesellschaft Berlin that has just brought down the Berlin city-state government to the pardoning of campaign donors' relatives by a US President, there is a gaping deficit of accountability," the TI statement said.

In his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned fugitive businessman Marc Rich in a much-criticised move. Mr Cockcroft added that the scrapping of the Kyoto Protocol by President George W Bush reinforced international perceptions that U.S. leaders too often sacrifice better judgment to finance increasingly costly election campaigns.

The group said Germany slid three spots in its latest ranking, citing well-publicised party financing scandals - including one involving former Chancellor Helmut Kohl - and irregularities in awarding public building contracts.

Last month 180 countries adopted a declaration against corruption at a meeting in The Hague.

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See also:

31 May 01 | Europe
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Cuba's anti-corruption ministry
26 Sep 99 | The Economy
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