The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Updated - Corruption index: Malta loses 10 places to 47, worst place ever, PN reacts

Wednesday, 25 January 2017, 06:53 Last update: about 4 years ago

Malta has lost 10 places in one year on the Corruption Perceptions Index, falling to its worst ever 47th placing since it started to be monitored by Transparency International in 2004.

The latest figures were published last night, with Malta dropping from the 37th place in 2015 to the 47th in 2016.

Malta has figured among the list of countries vetted by Transparency International since 2004, when it appeared in the 25th place, which it kept in 2005 and remains its best placing.

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Since then, besides the 28th place obtained in 2006, Malta has been yo-yoing between the 33rd place in 2007 and the 47th placing in 2016, its worst placing ever.

In 2008, Malta was 36th, in 2009 45th, in 2010 37th, in 2011 39th, in 2012 43rd, in 2013 45th, in 2014 43rd, in 2015 37th and, now, in 2016, 47th.

All through 2016, Malta was in the international limelight for the wrong reasons after Minister Konrad Mizzi was the only serving minister in an EU country to be named in the Panama Papers scandal.

In reaction, the Nationalist Party made reference to the story as revealed by The Malta Independent this morning, saying that this confirmed that the government led by Joseph Muscat is the most corrupt in history.

The position Malta obtained, at number 47, is the worst ever, and relates to 2016 which was a year in which the Panama Papers scandal involving Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri erupted.

This classification is a bad advert for Malta, and it it worse because potential investors look at such classifications seriously. This is worrying for Malta's economy, the PN said.

More than ever before, the country needs different politics which raise standards, and it is only the Nationalist Party under Simon Busuttil that can guarantee this, the PN said.

From all the promies made by Muscat, the only one that was achieved that Malta is first in Europe - in corruption, the PN said.

 

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People who turn to populist politicians promising to upset the status quo and end corruption may only be feeding the problem, an anti-corruption watchdog group warned Wednesday.

Transparency International said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016 that in countries with populist or autocratic leaders, "instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems."

The group's board chairman, Jose Ugaz, cited Hungary and Turkey as examples. Their scores have worsened in recent years under leaders with authoritarian leanings, while Argentina, which ousted a populist government, has improved in the rankings, he said.

Based on expert opinions of public sector corruption, the annual report rated Denmark and New Zealand as the least-corrupt countries, followed by Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Somalia was ranked most corrupt, followed by South Sudan, North Korea, and Syria.

Rounding out the Top 10 least corrupt were Singapore, the Netherlands, Canada, and the tie-placing trio of Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom in the No. 10 spot. The United States placed 18th, down from 16th in 2015.

Transparency International research director Finn Heinrich told The Associated Press that the organization was taking a wait-and-see approach to Donald Trump's presidency, but that already it had "serious concerns."

"Donald Trump came on board as the people in Hungary and Turkey, on an anti-corruption ticket. He said, 'We're going to drain this swamp,'" Heinrich said. "But if you look at his action so far, there is nepotism.... The people in his Cabinet have many conflicts of interest. They are not people who stand for transparency."

The index scores countries on a range of factors, such as whether government officials are held to account or go unpunished for corruption; the perceived prevalence of bribery; and whether public institutions respond to citizens' needs.

Nearly 70 percent of the 176 countries scored below 50 on the 100-point scale, with a zero meaning a country is perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 indicating it's perceived to be very clean.

"This year, more countries declined in the index than improved, showing the need for urgent action," the report said.

The country that dropped most sharply in the rankings was Qatar, which has faced criticism over alleged human rights abuses involving migrant construction workers since it was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup of soccer. It dropped 10 points, falling to 31st on the list from 22nd last year.

Still, Heinrich said Qatar's government has in the past shown itself "willing and keen" to fight corruption, and that Transparency would appeal to them for more fundamental reforms to ensure better freedom of speech and more media freedom, among other things.

"You can't fight corruption without having accountability and transparency in the entire public process," he said.

Afghanistan, a perennial fixture near the bottom of the list, improved the most in 2016. Its score on the Transparency International index rose four points, but still was ranked 169th, just ahead of Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

 

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