World Wide Corruption
Writing about public corruption as the “dark side of social evolution”, Robert Neild wrote that “[t]he leading arms firms in virtually every major arms-producing country have been implicated [in corruption], including reputable firms from the most respectable countries.” He goes on to note that “bribery in the arms trade has not subsided since the end of the Cold War. On the contrary, as military spending has been cut back the arms firms have been seeking markets abroad more fiercely than before.” According to the Economist, German businesses were reckoned in 1999 to pay “more than $3 billion a year all told to win contracts abroad”. In the international arms trade, “probably the world’s dirtiest legitimate business, one estimate reckons that roughly $2.5 billion a year is paid in bribes, nearly a tenth of turnover”.
Corruption in the arms trade contributes roughly 40 percent to all corruption in global transactions, according to SIPRI. “This corruption exacts a heavy toll on purchasing and selling countries, undermining democratic institutions of accountability and diverting valuable resources away from pressing social needs”, according to the think tank. Transparency International singles out Greece and Portugal, where “corruption is so deeply ingrained it poses a direct threat to democratic legitimacy and jeopardises economic recovery”.
In early October 2012 Transparency International UK published its survey on the anti-corruption activities of companies in the defence industry and on how they publicly report on their operations. According to the study, two-thirds of the surveyed companies have not reported sufficiently on these issues. These companies include companies from the world’s ten largest defence equipment manufacturing countries, including the United States, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and China, whose output amounts to some 90 per cent of the world’s defence equipment trade. It is noteworthy that only a quarter of the surveyed companies responded to the survey. This is likely due to the fact that companies that are part of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) did not actively participate in the survey in accordance with the recommendations made by ASD, as Transparency International UK was unable to describe and define things such as the survey criteria and the required level of information.
Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia were listed among the five most corrupt countries in the world in the December 2013 ranking by the global corruption watchdog, Transparency International. The index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption, was conducted in 177 countries giving scores ranging from 0 which represents highly corrupt to 100, very clean. Somalia was ranked 177, Sudan 174 and South Sudan was placed 173. The three East African nations scored below 15. Somalia (8) Sudan (11) and South Sudan (14). The two other countries placed at the bottom five are North Korea at position 176 and Afghanistan at 175. Both scored 8.
On the bottom of the 2016 index, Somalia ranked as the country with the most perceived corruption for the 10th consecutive year. It scored a 10, with the report noting concerns about corruption in its parliamentary elections and a presidential vote that was postponed three times. South Sudan (11), North Korea (12) and Syria (13) were also at the bottom of the index. Transparency International said low-ranked countries feature untrustworthy public institutions like the police and court system, basic services that are lacking because funding is misappropriated, anti-corruption laws that are ignored if they exist and people frequently faced with extortion.
The five countries that serve as the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council represent varying stages of the index, with Britain (81) among the least corrupt, followed by the United States (74) and France (69), while China (40) and Russia (29) scored as more corrupt.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the report highlights the improvements of Cape Verde (59) and Sao Tome and Principe (46), with each country holding clean elections in 2016, and Sao Tome and Principe carrying out a smooth transition of power. The report also cited Ghana (43) among a group of six countries in the region that significantly declined from 2015 to 2016, saying corruption there led to citizens voting out an incumbent president for the first time in the country’s history.
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