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Comoros - Corruption

Resident diplomatic, UN, and humanitarian agency workers reported petty corruption was commonplace at all levels of the civil service and security forces. Businesspersons reported corruption and a lack of transparency, while the World Banks Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that corruption was a significant problem. Citizens paid bribes to evade customs regulations, to avoid arrest, and for falsified police reports. There were numerous reported abuses similar to the following example. On June 30, the former director general and four other employees of Comoros Telecom, the state telecommunications operator, were arrested and jailed for embezzlement and forgery.

Corruption erodes the principles of good governance and stalls economic progress. It has direct and disastrous repercussions on the impoverishment of the population and the State. Investigations conducted in 2001 by the Accounts Audit Commission revealed a large number of anomalies in both state and private enterprises, including irregular bookkeeping, failure to observe procedures (administrative and procurement rules, etc.), failure to prepare financial statements for certain units, excessive and unjustified expenses, and so on. Pervasive official corruption, particularly bribery, poor prison conditions including long pretrial detention, and child abuse from violence to trafficking in persons were the most important human rights problem in the country. Other human rights problems included police misconduct and impunity, especially during arrest procedures and including providing access to an attorney; restrictions on press freedom and freedom of assembly; the lack of laws to address refugee and asylum issues; early marriage, criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual activity; and ineffective enforcement of laws protecting workers rights. Impunity for violations of human rights was widespread. The government discouraged officials from committing human rights violations and sometimes arrested or dismissed officials implicated in such violations but rarely took steps to prosecute them.

Corruption has a disastrous effect on a countrys development, tending to render the national economy less competitive and investment less attractive because of the surcharges and uncertainty it creates for transactors. It increases the cost of goods and services to consumers, especially those consumed by the poor, who have few alternatives. Corruption distorts the incentives system by disrupting the ordinary channels of social advancement. It leads to bad allocation of resources and unduly increases the cost of investments and public services.

It is generally acknowledged that corruption is widespread in the Comoros: an impression confirmed, moreover, by audits of the domestic debt and public enterprises. This corruption has disastrous consequences for the countrys development. It tends to render the national economy less competitive and investment less attractive because of the surcharges and uncertainty it creates for transactors. It increases the cost of goods and services to consumers, especially those consumed by for the poor, who have few alternatives. Corruption distorts the incentives system by disrupting the ordinary channels of social advancement.





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