Will there be a day when no one has to deal with corruption in any form? Imagine a world free from the destructive forces of systematic human greed in the guise of institutions serving the public. Transparency International is a global organization that believes in working towards that ideal. It’s dedicated to completely halting the corruption of public institutions at all levels of society by promoting greater accountability, transparency and integrity among public officials.
Among all the countries surveyed in the organization’s annual Global Corruption Barometer report, the vast majority of citizens believe that corruption within their countries is worsening. Only 24 of the 110 countries surveyed believe that the amount of corruption is decreasing or, at least, not worsening. The Global Corruption Barometer also reports that 88 countries believe that their governments are not fighting corruption effectively, versus 11 countries whose governments have taken appropriate steps to stem the tide.
Participants in the survey were asked a straightforward question about 12 different public institutions found worldwide: On a scale of one to five, with one being the least corrupt and five being the most corrupt, what’s your perception of these institutions within your country?
10. The Military (0 Countries – 2.8 average)
Although military forces weren’t perceived to be the most corrupt public institution in a single country surveyed, they still managed to achieve an average corruption score higher than religious institutions, which earns them the tenth spot on this list.
Only Russia and Yemen score a military corruption of 4.0 or more out of all the countries surveyed, with Zambia and Portugal coming in third with an average of 3.9 and Venezuela tied with Sudan for the fifth most corrupt military with a score of 3.8. Other countries with significant levels of corruption within their military are Cameroon (3.7), the Democratic Republic of Congo (3.7), Kyrgyzstan (3.7) and Peru (3.7).
Only the Solomon Islands consider their military to be devoid of corruption; but they haven’t had a formal military presence since their Independence.
9. Religious Institutions (3 Countries – 2.6 average)
Three countries surveyed consider their religious authorities to be the most corrupt of their public institutions. Perhaps the most surprising of the three is Denmark, which is the only European country to rate religious organizations as seriously corrupt.
South Sudan and Sudan are the other two countries polled with religious institutions of significant corruption. On a scale of one to five, religious institutions on average polled to be the least corrupt with a score just above the halfway point.
However, the severity of perceived corruption in those three countries boost their position on this list. For the most part, religious institutions are perceived to be relatively benign, with Israel, South Sudan, Sudan and Japan being the only countries that score four or above in the survey.
8. Business and Private Sector (3 Countries – 3.3 average)
The three countries that consider their businesses and private sector organizations the most corrupt are geographically, politically and culturally far apart.
Norway is one of those countries. The nation has suffered through a variety of bribery and other corruption scandals in industries once considered among the cleanest in the world. Norway’s fishing industry, oil concerns and financial sector are the hardest hit, by corruption. Yara, a chemical company, recently paid a record fine to avoid further litigation.
Despite these scandals, only 5 percent of Norwegians consider their governments to be run by special interests such as private enterprise. Other countries that consider their private sectors the most corrupt include Fiji and Algeria, with the latter recording the highest perception of corruption with a 4.1 average score.
7. The Media (4 Countries – 3.1 average)
Scoring an average perceived corruption of 3.1 among the 107 countries surveyed, the media has an image problem among countries in the commonwealth and in Egypt.
Australia, New Zealand and England all reported corruption affecting their media outlets more than any other public institutions. This isn’t surprising, considering the gigantic scandal involving Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp properties. Murdoch’s empire was involved in the large-scaled voicemail hackings of a variety of high-profile celebrities, royalty and even a murder victim.
Egypt struggles with perceived corruption in their media outlets, including Al-Jazeera news, a company based in Qatar that’s been accused of political interference. Greece measured the highest levels of distrust with their media on this survey with a score of 4.4 (although the media aren’t most distrusted public institution among disillusioned Greeks).
6. Medical and Health Services (6 Countries – 3.3 average)
One of the most important public institutions are the health and medical organizations that help heal their populations and prevent outbreaks of illness. Ethiopia, Serbia, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Albania expressed that their public medical institutions are most affected by corruption.
Overall, 17% of survey respondents expressed that they had to pay a bribe in order to access health services, ranking it fifth of all public institutions in terms of illegal money transfers, suggesting that about one out of every five persons around the globe have to pay a bribe to see a doctor.
The country least enamored with their medical system is Albania, whose survey respondents rated their health care system 4.3 out of five in terms of overall corruption.
5. Parliament and Legislature (7 Countries – 3.6 average)
Parliamentarians and those serving the legislature are considered the fifth most corrupt public institution in the world.
Japan, Lithuania, Taiwan, Paraguay, Indonesia, Colombia and the Maldives rate their parliaments and legislatures the most corrupt institutions within their borders. The biggest complaint against these public institutions is the conflicts of interest which guide the decisions of those involved in creating and ratifying laws.
Instead of considering the greater good of their countries, members of parliaments and legislature consider their own narrow interests, creating plenty of ill will and resentment among populaces around the world.
Amazingly, Liberia scores the highest perception of corruption in the world of this public authority with a rating of 4.7 out of five – but it still isn’t considered the most corrupt public body in the country.
4. Civil Service and Public Officials (7 Countries – 3.6 average)
The corruption of civil service and public officials are deemed to be the most corrupt group in Serbia, Russia, Mongolia, Libya, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. Much of the problem in this public sphere has to do with the role that personal connections play in the process of getting services done.
Russia in particular considers their civil and public officials to be compromised by illicit activities, with an average score of 4.6 out of 5 in their perception of the corruption of these government workers.
Considering those results, it’s no surprise that a former part of the U.S.S.R., Kyrgyzstan, matched Russian perceptions, also scoring 4.6 on the scale. Dishearteningly, over 80 percent of Russians believe their government is run by a few special interest groups interested only in their own benefit.
3. Judicial Authority (20 Countries – 3.6 average)
Nearly one in four people surveyed in 95 countries reported having to paying a bribe to a judicial authority. This fact makes this public sector the second most prone to bribery, behind the police.
In 2013, Taiwan, the Solomon Islands, Ghana, Indonesia and Mozambique reported a 20 percent increase in the occurrence of bribery when dealing with judicial forces. Unfortunately, with the exception of Taiwan, these countries also saw a corresponding rise of bribery among their police forces. These factors compound to make it difficult for the nations’ citizens to seek justice.
Kyrgyzstan and Madagascar have the highest perceived corruption with an average of 4.6 while Ukraine and Tanzania surveyed just slightly better with scores of 4.5 out of 5.
2. The Police (36 countries – 3.7 average)
A whopping 36 different countries around the world polled that their police forces are the most corrupt public institutions within their borders. Police were the most likely to request and accept bribes among all public services. 31% of people around the world reported paying a bribe after coming into contact with the police.
Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo reported that an astounding 75% or more of their population paid a bribe to police after making contact.
1. Political Parties (51 Countries – 3.8 average)
Other than Russia, the wealthiest economies in the world all perceive their political parties as the most corrupt public institutions within their borders.
As a whole, 114,000 respondents from 107 countries decided that political parties were the most corrupt. This is a resounding rebuke of the current state of worldwide politics. 58 of the countries surveyed gave their political bodies a corruption score of 4.0 or greater, implying that more than half of all worldwide political systems are deeply corrupt.
Nigeria scored the highest in the survey, with a score of 4.7, followed by Mexico and Nepalese political parties, which scored 4.6 out of 5.
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