Bangladesh ranks 12th most corrupt country01 February 2023
Staff Reporter :
Bangladesh is in the same bracket of corruption score between 25 and 28 out of 100 in the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 'serious corruption problem' in the last 11 years despite the government's anti-corruption pledges of 'zero tolerance'.
The score and the rank of Bangladesh are not making any progress in the CPI due to the inadequacy of law enforcement and infrastructural weaknesses, said Dr. Iftekhruzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) while revealing the CPI 2022 annual report of Transparency International (TI) at a press conference in his office in the capital on Tuesday.
Bangladesh has ranked 25 out of 100, which is the 12th lowest among 180 countries and it is also one point lower than 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018, which indicates the stagnant situation of corruption.
According to the CPI, Bangladesh's rank from top is 147th among 180 countries, same as 2021 while counting from the bottom, the country is ranked at 12th from below, one step lower than 2021.
"The performance is disappointing as Bangladesh's score is among 122 countries that scored below 50 which are considered as having 'serious corruption problem'. Even Bangladesh is also well below the global average of 43 indicating even more grave concern," Iftekhruzzaman said.
Compared with the eight south Asian countries, Bangladesh remains the second worst -better than only Afghanistan, which is about to catch up with Bangladesh with a score of 24 and ranked 11th lowest, the report read.
Bangladesh was earlier placed at the very bottom in 2001-2005. Then in 2006 3rd, in 2007 (seventh), 2008 (10th), 2009 (13th), 2010 (12th), 2011 (13th), 2012 (13th), 2013 (16th), 2014 (14th), 2015(13th), 2016 (15th), 2017 (17th), 2018 (13th), 2019 (14th), 2020 (12th), 2021 (13th).
"If the trend continues, Bangladesh will face the risk of being at the bottom in South Asia. Though Bangladesh is much ahead of the South Asian countries in different areas including GDP, it could perform much better, if the corruption was checked," he observed.
Bangladesh's score is the 12th lowest in the world and fourth lowest among 31 Asia-Pacific, better than only Afghanistan, Cambodia (24), Myanmar (23), and North Korea (17).
In South Asia Bhutan continues to score the highest (68), ranked 25th from the top, followed by India and Maldives scored 40 and ranked 85th without any change. Sri Lanka slid one point making the score 36 and ranked 101st, Nepal made progress of one point making the score 34 and ranked 110th, Pakistan slid one point making the score 27 and ranked 140th compared with the year 2021, the report read.
About the global index, the report said that no country has scored 100. Denmark topped the list with a score 90 and ranking first, while Somalia obtained the lowest score 12 and ranking 180.
Compared with the report 2021, the overall global scores have worsened when 49 countries improved scoring 65 while 73 declined scoring 66 and 58 retained the same scoring 48.
The Berlin based Transparency International report said 123 countries (68.3 per cent) have scored below 50 indicating 'serious corruption problem'.
On the other hand, 104 countries (57.7 per cent) scored below the global average of 43 showing a sign of 'more grave concern'. Highlighting some factors behind Bangladesh's disappointing result, Iftekharuzzaman said, "We have heard the government's pledge of zero tolerance against corruption, but no strategic initiative was taken to transform the rhetoric into practice without fear or favour. No effective action was taken against the endless exposure of money laundering."
"We have also noticed the deficit of effectiveness of the Anti-Corruption Commission and other relevant authorities to set examples of corruption being a punishable offence, especially continued impunity instead of accountability of the big fish. Even the state institutions are increasingly under political and bureaucratic influence," he continued.
The other reasons for the worst performance are failure to effectively enforce accountability procedures in the public services, examples of backlash for efforts to act against corruption, and on the contrary protection and rewarding of alleged abuse of power, breach of integrity and violation of laws.
"Political and government positions are treated as a license for abuse of power; policy capture for abuse of lobby power especially in the banking sector ravaged by loan default, financial fraud and money laundering," he said.
He also said that sustained and intimidating control of media and civil society space; surveillance, intolerance and reprisal of disclosure and reporting on corruption were also responsible for the performance.
About the way forward to combat corruption, TIB has suggested to challenge impunity effectively and bring the corrupt, especially the powerful, to justice irrespective of status and identity.
"It is imperative to depoliticise and de-bureaucratise state institutions and upscale professional integrity and impartiality of ACC, public service, administration and law-enforcement agencies free from partisan political and bureaucratic influence," Iftekharuzzaman said.
"It is necessary to salvage the banking sector from the edge of collapse through transparency and accountability. Ensure robust disclosure of information; wider and deeper digitisation of public services and transactions," he said.
He also said to ensure increased space for media, civil society and people at large unrestricted disclosure and reporting on corruption and effective voice and demand for accountability.
He said that a paradigm shift in political culture free from treating political and public positions as license to personal gains is imperative to check corruption.
Regarding the necessity of combating corruption, he said, "Corruption leads to deprivation, discrimination and injustice which create social tensions leading to erosion of trust and legitimacy of the government. Such tensions range from low to high intensity violent conflicts as in the case of some of the lowest ranking countries."
Even corruption polarises the society and pushes aggrieved people to resort to protest movements for justice, that are often violently suppressed by law enforcement institutions, many of which are also corrupt and protectors of corruption, he added.