BRITAIN is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, with UK public officials seen as some of the most honest anywhere, according to a comprehensive new report.
The UK ranks in the top 10 nations for officials seen as least likely to take a backhander, watchdog Transparency International has said, in its annual global review of corruption.
This is four places above Britain’s position last year, and marks the first time the country has entered the top 10 in eight years, having been as low as 20th in 2010.
Britain’s higher ranking was attributed by the watchdog’s director Robert Barrington to “good rhetoric” from the government on fighting corruption, though he added that stopping the UK from being used to launder money, cleaning up politics and improving government openness were all areas which needed work.
Transparency International, a global charity with over 100 national chapters, ranked 168 countries’ corruption in the public sector on a scale of 0 to 100, with lower scores reflecting levels of corruption and higher scores being seen as very clean. It canvasses experts views’ of graft among state employees.
The 10 least corrupt:
Germany, Luxembourg and UK (tied)
The 10 most corrupt:
North Korea and Somalia (tied)
Angola and South Sudan (tied)
Iraq and Libya (tied)
Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Venezuela (tied)
Eritrea, Syria, Turkmenistan and Yemen (tied)
Burundi, Cambodia and Zimbabwe (tied)
Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar (tied)
Mr Barrington said: “Britain has a Prime Minster who is talking a good game on anti-corruption with plans for a global summit on it in May. Whether he delivers on that remains to be seen.”
He added there had been few major corruption scandals in the UK in 2015 with the exception of in banking, “though the public seem to have become used to these as they have become so frequent”.
The UK cleaning up its act earned a score of 81 out of a 100, putting it in joint 10th place with Luxembourg a nation until recently famed for its banking secrecy laws and Germany, where the VW scandal rocked the automotive sector and regulators watching over it.
Mr Barrington said the scandal over emissions from the VW’s diesel cars seemed not have harmed perception around corruption in the country, possibly because it was seen as straightforward fraud rather than corruption.
Denmark retained the title for having the most honest public sector in the world for a second year, with a score of 91, down from 92 last year.
Somalia and North Korea were jointly ranked as the most corrupt regimes, retaining the same spots they held last year, and each earning a score of just 8 out of 100.
Other notable entries included the US, rising one place to 16, with a score of 76, China, gaining 17 places to 83rd with a score of 36. France gained three places to 23rd, Spain moved one spot up the ranking to 36th and Italy gained eight places to 61st.
Characteristics including a free press, publicly available budget information and judiciaries which do not treat people differently depending on their wealth were shared by top-performing countries.
Commonalities between corrupt countries included war, badly functioning public institutions such as police and media that is state controlled.
Corruption is “rife worldwide” according to Transparency International, which said the average score was 43 out of 100, with more than two thirds of countries scoring less than 50.
Notable movers in this year’s survey included Brazil, which dropped seven positions to 76th place after its score fell five points to 38. The country is currently embroiled in a scandal over allegations directors at giant oil company Petrobras took bribes from construction groups to award contracts and funds were also funnelled to government officials.
Rolls-Royce has been caught up in the scandal , with claims strongly denied by the British engineering group that its deals to supply Petrobras involved bribes.
Simon Webley, research director of the Institute of Business Ethics, said that British companies taking on board the full implications of the 2010 Bribery Act was behind the improvement in the UK’s ranking.
“It’s a trans-national law so any British company involved in bribery anywhere in the world can be prosecuted,” said Mr Webley. “Prosecutions can go right up to board level there is a real chance of directors going to prison and that has had a real effect.”
Mr Webley said that although there were no major prosecutions under the Act in the period covered by the research, this showed its effectiveness.
“Some people think the SFO should be endlessly prosecuting to see the Act’s impact but deep down the purpose of any good law is to deter and the lack of prosecutions is doing that”.uk.finance.yahoo.com
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