Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2006 is out, and I guess we Nepalese can be glad that we haven’t done any worse than before. But then, we haven’t done any better either. Nepal still has a score of 2.5 (10 being the least corrupt) and ranks 121 out of 163 nations. Bangladesh and Pakistan fare worse than us in South Asia. Most of the countries worse off than us are ‘failed states’ and extremely poor countries with a bad track record of human right abuses (like Iraq, Myanmar, Haiti and Sudan). The ranking is done on the basis of how rampant the people perceive corruption to be in the country.
The report states that a “strong correlation between corruption and poverty is evident”, and quotes the chair as saying that “corruption traps millions in poverty”. Furthermore,
The weak performance of many countries indicates that the facilitators of corruption continue to assist political elites to launder, store and otherwise profit from unjustly acquired wealth, which often includes looted state assets. The presence of willing intermediaries – who are often trained in or who operate from leading economies — encourages corruption; it means the corrupt know there will be a banker, accountant, lawyer or other specialist ready to help them generate, move or store their illicit income.
Corruption always has two participants – the giver and the taker, a distinction even Prithvi Narayan Shah makes in his famous quote. With the advent of globalization, multi-national corporations take liberties when dealing in poor countries. They are happily aided by greedy politicians seeking personal gain. Also, the elite economic class of the country is protected by politicians seeking personal gains. To curb corruption, we will have to ensure that large businesses and politicians are both held accountable for their wrongdoings. While we need proper legislation, we also need proper implementation of the laws.
Questions remain if there is something inherent in a culture that promotes corruptions (like tribal loyalty) and whether poverty is the cause of corruption or corruption of poverty. Please discuss your experiences with corruption and your ideas for curbing it below.
To download a copy of the report, click here.