Who's Who in the Corruption Verdict?
The verdict is out, rendered by an internationally acclaimed organization that specializes in documenting corruption around the globe - the German-based Transparency International.
|President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf |
Who is to blame? Hard to say, but let's start with archaic and useless state socio-economic institutions spanning over decades.
Impunity, the absence of tolerance that resulted into people being shot or jailed for suggesting that their government and its officials were corrupt. Now that it is possible to say so and roam freely, and now that international organizations can come, roam and collect the their findings, the facts are hitting at the country in an ominous way.
Thus to suggest that the foundations of these findings were laid in 2006 when this government climbed to power would be ignoring the facts and the country's hyper-corrupt history. The basis of these findings can be found in the country's history, more in its destructive war, and more so in the misrule that greeted it from 1980 when soldiers seized power with slogans of anti-corruption they hardly understood or believed in.
No single person can bear the burdens for this verdict. It is a collective burden rooted in history.
The verdict says all institutions in the country, without exception, are corrupt.
The findings also presented some surprises. Contrary to what many believe, women are more likely to offer bribes to beat the system than men, TI said. So are women more corrupt?
But the most corrupt institution in the country, according to the verdict, is the police force. It scored a whooping 4.1%. Next, not surprisingly, is the Legislature, scoring 3.9%. Then comes the Education system, scoring 3.8%. It is followed by the Judiciary, netting 3.7%. After that come public officials--Ministers, Directors of Public Corporations, etc., scoring 3.6%. The next are the non-governmental organizations - the NGOs, and these include UN groups, too. They scored 2.5%. They are followed by the media, netting 2.4%.
Other lesser champions are: political parties, 2.9%. NGOS, 2.5 and the Military, 2.3%. Religious bodies scored the leased - 1.9%.
To understand the above figures in relations to the intensity of corruption, TI says: "A 2% of any of the above denotes the severity of corruption and no change in attitude while beyond 2% underscores how extreme corruption has become."
With this, corruption is extreme in all institutions, although some rank higher. Hence, Legislators are more corrupt than ministers. The Judiciary, including lawyers, is more corrupt than ministers. The NGOs are more corrupt than the media. The political parties are more corrupt than the media, too. All this suggests that corrupt is pervasive in the society with exclusion.
Sierra Leone ..............................71%
Transparency International conducted its 2010 Global Corruption Barometer studies through RMS-Africa firm, which interviewed 750 Liberians covering the urban areas which represent the population of 856,516 and cover the June 21-June 26 2010. The methodology used was face to face. The sectors of the Liberian society covered in the studies included where in society corruption is prevalent and experienced change in corruption pattern.
According to Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer of 2010, 80% of Sub-Saharan Africa are willing to engage to fight corruption while 50% say government is corrupt but 45% trust the government to fight corruption.
TI: Corruption has increased over the last three years, say six out of 10 people around the world, and one in four people report paying bribes in the last year. These are the findings of the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer, a worldwide public opinion survey on corruption, released today, International Anti-Corruption Day, by Transparency International (TI). Views on corruption trends are most negative in Europe and North America, where 73 per cent and 67 per cent of people respectively think corruption has increased over the last three years.
Despite these results, the survey also found that seven out of 10 people would be willing to report an incident of corruption.
"The fall-out of the financial crises continues to affect people's opinions of corruption, particular in Europe and North America. Institutions everywhere must be resolute in their efforts to restore good governance and trust," said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. "It is heartening that so many people are ready to take a stand against corruption. This willingness must be mobilised."
The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer surveys more than 91,000 people in 86 countries and territories. It focuses on petty bribery, perceptions of public institutions and views of whom people trust to combat corruption.
The survey showed that in the past 12 months one in four people paid a bribe to one of nine institutions and services, from health to education to tax authorities. The police are named the most frequent recipient of bribes, according to those surveyed, with 29 per cent of those who had contact with the police reporting that they paid a bribe.
Sub-Saharan Africans report paying the most bribes: more than one in two people report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. This compares to 36 per cent of people surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa, 32 per cent in the Newly Independent states, 23 per cent in Latin America, 19 per cent in the Western Balkans and Turkey, 11 per cent in Asia Pacific and just 5 per cent in European Union countries and North America.
More than 20 countries report significantly more petty bribery than in 2006, when the same question was asked in the Barometer. The biggest number of reported bribery payments in 2010 is in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cameroon, India, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Palestine, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda where more than 50 per cent of people surveyed paid a bribe in the past 12 months.
Almost half of all respondents say they paid bribes to avoid problems with the authorities and a quarter say it was to speed up processes.
Most worrying is the fact that bribes to the police have almost doubled since 2006, and more people report paying bribes to the judiciary and for registry and permit services than did so five years ago.
The demographics of bribery continue to disadvantage the poor and the young. As in past surveys, lower income earners report paying more bribes than higher income earners. Poorer people are twice as likely to pay bribes for basic services, such as utilities, medical services and education, than wealthier people.
"Corruption is a regressive tax. This injustice must be addressed. The marginalised and poor remain the most vulnerable to extortion. Governments should do more to identify corruption risks in basic services and to protect their citizens," said Labelle.
A third of all people under the age of 30 report paying a bribe in the past 12 months, compared to less than one in five people over 51 years of age.
Sadly, few people trust their governments or politicians. Eight out of 10 say political parties are corrupt or extremely corrupt. The civil service and parliament are considered the next most corrupt institutions. Half the people questioned say their government's action to stop corruption is ineffective. This reflects little change over time; however, opinions have worsened slightly since 2007 in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa - while they have improved in the Newly Independent States and North America.
And although a large majority of people - seven out of 10 - say they would report a corrupt act if they saw one, if they are victims of corruption, this drops to about half.
"The message from the 2010 Barometer is that corruption is insidious. It makes people lose faith. The good news is that people are ready to act," said Labelle. "Better whistleblower protection and greater access to information are crucial. Public engagement in the fight against corruption will force those in authority to act; and will give people further courage to speak out and stand up for a cleaner, more transparent world," she added.