Monday, December 10, 2012

Gambia ‘drowning’ in global corruption poll

Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh is presiding over an increasingly corrupt country/here he speaks to journalists in Nov 2011/PHOTO/AFP
The Gambia, a tiny West African country, is drifting deep under a sea of public corruption as shown by the latest Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published by the anti-corruption agency, Transparency International (TI).
In 2009, the country was ranked 106 of180 nations – bettering that position in 2010 when it moved six places up to 100. Last year, the country was ranked 77 – still very much a better position. 

However, in the 2012 CPI released on December 5, 2012, The Gambia is ranked at bottom 105 in a list that includes 174 countries – an indication that public corruption is “very high” in the country. 

The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). 

In June this year, the National Assembly of The Gambia passed into laws an Anti-Corruption Commission Bill and an Anti-Money Laundering Bill but independent observers said the implementation process of the two laws are yet to ensure a drastic reduction in official and public corruption in the country. 

The country is ranked at the same level with highly-corrupt countries like Algeria, Armenia, Bolivia, Kosovo, Islamists-troubled Mali, drug-infested Mexico and the Philippines.

The Gambia is way below ECOWAS neighbors - 11 places below Senegal, 22 places behind Burkina Faso, 30 places behind Liberia which emerged from a deadly-civil war just nine years ago, and a massive 41 places below Ghana – a country regarded a “model” for democracy in Africa.

The top five countries in Africa ranked as “least corrupt” by this year’s TI’s CPI are Botswana, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Rwanda and the Seychelles – while Cape Verde, Ghana and Liberia tops in the West African sub-regional economic bloc, ECOWAS.

Meanwhile countries like Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are on equal points ranked as the least corrupt countries in the World. Sweden and Singapore adds up to the world’s top five least corrupt countries in 4th and 5th positions. 

On the contrary, conflict-ravaged Somalia, nuclear-state North Korea and terrorists-infested Afghanistan occupied bottom positions all at 174.  

“Looking at the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity, warns Transparency International, “Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.”

“While no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem,” the agency lamented.

“Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds,” it said.

“Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims.”
TI urges Governments to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making to counter public-sector corruption. 

“They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable,” TI said. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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