Pandemic deepens graft, democracy breaches, says Transparency International



With populations under lockdown and governments wielding greater emergency powers, the Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated already alarming levels of graft and democratic violations worldwide, Transparency International said.


Bribery for virus tests and the procurement of medical supplies to are allowing ruling elites to skim taxpayer funds, according to a report from the global watchdog published Thursday. Transparent budget spending is also particularly difficult to enforce during a pandemic, it said.


“Covid-19 isn’t just a health and economic crisis,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Transparency’s head, said in the watchdog’s 2020 ranking of countries from cleanest to most corrupt. “It’s a crisis. And one that we’re currently failing to manage.”


Denmark, New Zealand and Finland topped the list of least-corrupt countries while South Sudan, Somalia and Syria were rated worst.




The U.S. slipped another two spots during the final year of Donald J. Trump’s presidency to 25th, down from 16th in 2017.


Challenges from his administration to the oversight of a $1 trillion relief package was an example of how new measures to deal with the virus post risks to transparent governance, Transparency said.


It “raised serious anti-concerns and marked a significant retreat from longstanding democratic norms promoting accountable government,” the report said.


In places where corruption already flourished, authorities tended to confront the outbreak with cash-strapped health services. Countries scoring in the highest third of the graft index spent on average 6.2 per cent of gross domestic product on health care, compared with 3.5 per cent for the middle third and just 1.8 per cent for the lowest third, according to the report.


There was also correlation between corruption and violations of democratic standards. Countries that recorded no violations during the pandemic had an average Corruption Perception Index score of 74 versus an average of 36 for those that perpetrated “major violations.”


The corruption index is calculated using different data sources that aims to capture the perception of graft in 180 countries and territories, with a score of zero denoting “highly corrupt” and 100 “very clean.”


“Countries with higher levels of corruption tend to be the worst perpetrators of democratic and rule-of-law breaches while managing the Covid-19 crisis,” according to the report.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor





Source link