Bangladesh has ranked 14th among the most corrupt countries, according to the Global Corruption Perception Index 2019 released by the Berlin-based Transparency International.
In the year, though the rank of Bangladesh improved by one notch from the previous year the score was still 26 on 100, according to the TI’s latest perception index.
It ranked 13th in 2018 with the same score.
Transparency International Bangladesh, the Bangladesh chapter of the international anti-corruption NGO, released the data at a news conference at its office in Dhaka on Thursday.
On the corruption perception index, Bangladesh shared the 14th slot with Angola, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Mozambique and Nigeria.
The index provides perception of corruption for 180 countries around the world.
According to the index, Bangladesh continued to rank the second most corrupt country after Afghanistan among the eight South Asian nations.
Bangladesh’s latest status in corruption is ‘still embarrassing and alarming’ needing a strong political will to fight the malaise, said TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman while releasing the Corruption Perception Index.
About the reason for the change in the rank with the same score, Iftekharuzzaman said that it might be due to the performance of some other countries.
No country scored the full 100 marks and Denmark and New Zealand jointly took the 1st place as the least corrupt nation scoring 87.
Somalia emerged as the most corrupt country scoring 9.
Finland obtained the second slot among the less corrupt countries followed by Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland jointly taking the 3rd place on the index.
South Sudan ranked the 2nd most corrupt nation while Syria became 3rd.
In 2019, Bangladesh fell to the 146th step in the ladder from the 149th in 2018 on the index of 180 nations.
About the possible factors behind Bangladesh’s undesirable result, the TIB executive director said that high expectations against the deficit in the trust about the end-result of the high-profile anti-corruption drive might have been at work.
He went on that the impact of the deficit of political integrity and link of politics to big money and corruption were also reflected in the result.
The result is also an outcome of the political and policy decisions from the powerful vested groups with little reflection of the public interest, he said, adding that the deficit in the electoral integrity and the transparency of political or electoral finance were also a reason for the result.
He further said that lack of efforts to address high-profile corruption also influenced the result while pervasive conflict of interest—manifested in the holding of political and government positions perceived as means of enrichment—was also seen in the outcome.
He said that the state’s role, especially in the financial and banking sector crisis, including in loan default and fraud, and the political control of contracting and recruitment business were also reasons for the result.
The deficit in the effectiveness of the Anti-Corruption Commission, especially in terms of holding the ‘big fish’ to account and shrinking media and civil society space, the deficit of tolerance of dissent also worked as factors in the result.
He said that the effective delivery of prime minister’s declaration of zero tolerance against corruption without fear or favour should be visible so that the CPI performance could be improved.
Besides, Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Iqbal Mahmood on the day at an event said that corruption plagued the country and became pervasive.
The ACC chairman made the remark while speaking at a view exchange with district-level government officials in Sathkhira.
Transparency International B recommended a national anti-corruption strategy to implement the zero tolerance policy and to effectively challenge impunity and bring the corrupt to justice irrespective of status or identity.
It also suggested banking sector reform for transparency – by subscribing to international standards for automatic banking data sharing.
It suggested legal provisions to transparently manage conflicts of interest and beneficial ownerships.
According to the TI report, 131 of the 180 countries scored below 50 while 108 countries scored less than the global average of 43.
It said that the score declined in 68 countries in 2019 while increased in 60 countries and remained the same in 52 countries.
Bangladesh ranked the first position as most corrupt country in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 it ranked 3rd, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 12th respectively.
Bangladesh became the 13th most corrupt country in 2011 and 2012 while it ranked 16th in 2013, 14th in 2014, 13th in 2015, 15th in 2016 and 17th in 2018.