'allowing corruption to go unchecked'
Wealthy industrialised countries including the UK are allowing overseas bribery to go unchecked through insufficient regulation of their private sectors, an anti-corruption group warned today.
The latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index said the poorest countries still had the highest levels of corruption.
However, it added that the data casts a "critical light on government commitment [in wealthy countries] to rein in the questionable methods of their companies in acquiring and managing overseas business, in addition to domestic concerns about issues such as the role of money in politics".
The UK, which is ranked 16th in the index - Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand were in joint first place as the least corrupt countries - was highlighted as one of the "notable European decliners" in the index because of the December 2006 decision to halt the criminal investigation of BAE in relation to the al-Yamamah arms contract with Saudi Arabia.
"The decision to stop the criminal investigation raised acute concerns over the UK's international obligation to combat corruption," Transparency International said.
The US, whose rating has fallen slightly in recent years, had a ranking of 18th, "one of the lowest among the world's leading industrialised countries".
"Contributing factors may include a widespread sense that political finance is in need of reform, with lobbyists and special interest groups perceived to have an unfair hold on political decision-making," Transparency International said.
Somalia came bottom of the 180 countries listed in the index, which is based on expert and business surveys. It was just ahead of Iraq and Burma.
The report said corruption jeopardised the global fight against poverty. It said there was a need to "ensure development assistance is designed to strengthen institutions of governance and oversight in recipient countries, and that aid flows themselves are fortified against abuse and graft".
why this is not improving ...is corrption is the byproduct of developement?