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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 18:38 GMT
Police top 'corrupt' South Asia list
A man counting a wad of dollar bills
Corruption remains lucrative in South Asia
A survey on corruption levels in the five biggest South Asian countries shows people see police as the worst offenders among seven basic public services.

The survey shows that bribes are a heavy financial burden on South Asian households

The survey, organised by corruption watchdog Transparency International, covered India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

All those interviewed in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who had dealt with the police in the last year had encountered corruption.

The survey estimated that police officers in Bangladesh alone earned nearly $250 million in bribes last year.

Bribes

The judiciary was identified as the second most corrupt area in all four countries, except Pakistan.

There, land administration and tax authorities came after police on the list.

The lack of effective complaint mechanisms in these countries prevented most feedback from reaching the government

G Krishnan,
Transparency International
The survey was carried out among urban and rural households in each of the five countries - ranging from more than 2,000 households in Sri Lanka to more than 5,000 in India.

Other services covered in the survey were health, education and electricity.

"The survey shows that bribes are a heavy financial burden on South Asian households," a Transparency International press release said.

"More than half of the users of public hospitals in Bangalore for example reported they had to pay bribe to access a service."

Most people reported they had had to pay bribes in dealing with the judiciary.

Political will

In Pakistan, almost 92% of households said they had paid bribes to receive public education.

Tranparency's Asia programme manager, Gopakumar Krishnan, said: "The lack of effective complaint mechanisms in these countries prevented most feedback from reaching the government."

He said independent anti-corruption commissions, ombudsmen and administrative reform, as well as political will, were all necessary to curb corruption in South Asia.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Business
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
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