Egyptian corruption still riding high: watchdog

Ahram Online, Thursday 1 Dec 2011

New ratings from Transparency International show perceptions of corruption in Egypt have changed little since January's revolution

A poster decries Egyptian corruption (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Awareness of Egyptian corruption is still riding high in the wake of January's uprising, according to a report from Transparency International (TI) on Thursday.

Egypt scored 2.9 points on the Berlin-based watchdog's annual corruption perceptions index (CPI), which ranks 183 countries based on independent studies and gives marks ranging from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean).
The country's 2011 score was reached by comparing results from seven indexes and surveys, local and international, said TI.
Egypt is ranked 112th in the global list, down 14 places from 2010. But TI's programme coordinator in the country, Omneya Nabil Hussien, said the varied means of gathering data made annual rises and falls in ranking a weak indicator of performance.
More important, she said, was Egypt's "very low" CPI score, which mirrors its performance over the last few years.
"The results now and before show there is a definite link between protests in Egypt and corrupt practices," Hussien told Ahram Online. "People have made the link between their lives, their sense of citizenship and lack of opportunities, and institutional corruption."
The results also showed little had changed since the revolution, she added.
Surveys used by TI to compile Egypt's ranking included questions about the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the strength of public-sector anti-corruption efforts. 
Egypt's low score was replicated in the showings of other Arab countries which saw upheavals in 2011.
Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, fell to 73rd place from 59th last year, with its CPI score dropping to 3.8 from 4.3. Syria slipped to 129th from 127th. Yemen and Libya shared 146th place last year and dropped to 164th and 168th respectively.
"We have seen a new movement in Arab nations," TI Managing Director Cobus de Swardt told Reuters.
"You now have not only a push for basic human rights but also for public accountability. The lack of public accountability has been recognized as a major problem."
North Korea was included in the index for the first time and was judged the most corrupt country, along with Somalia, putting them at the bottom of the table.
New Zealand was graded the least corrupt, closely followed by Denmark and Sweden.
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