October 11, 2003


The Berlin-based Transparency International has named Bangladesh as the most corrupted nation in their recent Global Corruption Index, a survey of 133 nations. It has earned only 1.3 out of a 10 point index where the least corrupted nation Finland has scored 9.7. The new index lists countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.

Asia as a whole fared badly in the report on corruption, with many nations in the region being counted amongst the worst in the world for graft among public officials and politicians.

Transparency International said the survey did not include all the nations in the world for want of data.

Its of no doubt that corruption exists in Bangladesh but mostly among public officials and politicians. There are a majority of people of this country who are farmers. Many are businessmen, private service holders and students and or housewives. The public officials and politicians are only of a small portion comparing to these. And I do not believe that corruption level has become that much worse; even below Nigeria (Many people including me have received the Nigerian scam emails). And I have doubts on the methodology of the survey which can be found here. The perception index stuff is really faulty. And I know that Bangladesh, a country still lacking in terms of digital divide, do not have proper records of its people. The govt. Administration is in the process of computerization. So a survey, random questionnaires can get you a trend but not a definite figure or a position.

Some points proving Bangladesh's corruption culture:

* Greed on the part of the power elite of all categories - bureaucrats, politicians, business people and others.

* Low wages of the govt. Employees which does not cover the inflation. Wages of multinational, NGOs and other private concerns are as much as 2-10 times higher than govt. wages. The govt. employees give the rational that they will not make up to the living standard if they don't take bribe.

* The Anti-Corruption Bureau the govt. initiative do not file a single corruption case against any politician or minister of the governing party. Corruption charges were brought against politicians only when they were out of power. So political acrimony and being biased has destabilized the check system.

The Bangladesh government has refuted the TIB report saying it had failed to unearth evidence of government corruption on the ground. It said the report did not reflect the government's strong political initiative to contain corruption. They are blaming the opposition party has influenced and using it to establish that ruling party is failing and to better their position.

There is a lot to be discussed on this issue; but most corrupted nation? I doubt that there is a subliminal reason behind this declaration. The TI - Bangladesh office includes trustees who are controversial figures in Bangladesh. AFP named TI as "Sleaze Watchdog".


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