Deterioration of Bangladesh in corruption index

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Transparency International, an international organization based in Berlin, Germany, publishes a report every year to give an idea about the level of corruption in any country. They have published a conceptual report on corruption for the outgoing year 2023. According to the data of that report, Bangladesh ranks 10th among the countries where the level of corruption is the highest in the world. Earlier in 2022, Bangladesh was ranked 12th.

According to a Transparency International (TI) report, Bangladesh has a higher level of corruption than countries that do not have democracies and countries that have authoritarian regimes.

TI released the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Report-2023 from Berlin, Germany on Tuesday. Together with them, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) presented this report through a press conference in Bangladesh. On this occasion, a press conference was held at the TIB office in Dhanmondi of the capital yesterday afternoon.

When we talk about corruption, human rights, they (the government) talk about conspiracies. Government people talk like everyone is conspiring against them.
Sultana Kamal, Chairperson, TIB
The conceptual definition of corruption is the ‘abuse of public power’ for personal gain or gain. And according to the concept, the level of corruption in Bangladesh was the highest in the last 16 years in 2023.

Transparency International’s index measures the perceived level of corruption on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of ‘0’ is considered to be the most affected by corruption and a score of ‘100’ is considered to be the least affected by corruption or most well governed. Bangladesh scored 24 out of 100, which is 1 point less than last time, TI said. Bangladesh’s score was 25 last year.

According to the TI report, Bangladesh ranks better than only Afghanistan among South Asian countries. Corruption rate is higher in Bangladesh than other countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Among South Asian countries, Bhutan scores 68, India and Maldives 39, Nepal 35, Sri Lanka 34, Pakistan 29 and Afghanistan 20.

Denmark tops the list as the least corrupt country with a score of 90 out of 100 on the index. Finland is in second position with 87. New Zealand in third place, Norway in fourth place. Singapore ranks fifth in the list of countries with less corruption. Sweden and Switzerland are jointly in the sixth place. On the other hand, the level of corruption is highest in Somalia. Their score is only 11. South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela are in second place.

According to TI, Bangladesh is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in order of receiving the highest score out of 100 in the list. Bangladesh was at 147th position last year.

In a press conference organized on the occasion of conceptual release, TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal said, ‘When we talk about corruption, human rights, they (the government) talk about conspiracy. Government people talk like everyone is conspiring against them. They don’t work with the mindset of reducing corruption by acknowledging it.

Sultana Kamal said, “The government has promised to reduce corruption. Do they say it just for the sake of it, or do they really mean it? We hope they keep what they say. But listening to their various conversations, one cannot help but be disappointed. In view of the past experience, doubts remain whether they will keep their word or not.

The press conference informed that TIB does not play any role in the conceptual diagnosis of corruption. The Index does not include any data or analysis derived from TIB’s research. A total of 13 surveys for different countries around the world are used as a reference for serial determination. Inclusion in the index requires a minimum of three internationally comparable surveys. As usual 8 surveys are used in case of Bangladesh. These include the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment and the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey.

In 16 years the situation is worse
What is the conceptual picture of corruption in Bangladesh since 2001, TI has highlighted in their report. According to the report, Bangladesh topped the TI list for five consecutive years from 2001 to 2005. That is, at that time the level of corruption was the highest in the world in Bangladesh. In those five years, in 2001, three governments were in power in the country. At the beginning of the year Awami League was in power, in the middle there was a caretaker government for about three months. And BNP was in power from October 2001 to 2005.

In 2006, Bangladesh was ranked third in the list of most corrupt countries and seventh the following year. Bangladesh was at the tenth position in 2008. After that till 2022 the position of Bangladesh was between 12 and 17. Now it has come down to 10. That is, conceptually, corruption in the country has increased more than before.

Regarding the current position of Bangladesh in the conceptual index of corruption, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said in a press conference yesterday that the position of Bangladesh is disappointing. This time, Bangladesh’s score and position decline proves that the government’s commitment against corruption has not been implemented in practical terms. Bangladesh has further deteriorated due to law enforcement and structural weaknesses.

In the press conference, Iftekharuzzaman said, ACC could not effectively implement its institutional powers. ACC could not use its capabilities due to political influence. ACC could not play its proper role many times because of the idea that ‘hands will be burned if you give hands’.

Iftekharuzzaman said, those who are in default have decided what will be the policy of default in the country. It ranks at the top in terms of money laundering by global standards. There has been development in the country, it must be admitted. But if corruption is controlled it would be better and meaningful for the people. Corruption is a major obstacle in getting the benefits of development to the people. He thinks, common people will say, this report of TI is correct.

TIB’s Advisor (Executive Management) Professor Sumaiya Khair, Director (Outreach and Communication) Sheikh Manzoor-e-Alam, Coordinator (Outreach and Communication) Mohammad Tauhidul Islam were also present in TIB’s press conference.

“Corruption and Injustice”
Over the past 12 years, the scores of developed countries such as Australia, Canada, Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, United States and United Kingdom have also decreased. This means that the level of corruption has increased even in many developed countries.

The United States scored 69 out of 100, China 42 and Russia 26 on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Iftekharuzzaman said about the increase in the level of corruption even in developed countries, democracy is declining worldwide and dictatorial rule is being established. As a result, institutional capacity is decreasing. Judiciary continues to weaken, reducing accountability. The depth of corruption is increasing and those doing corruption are suffering impunity. When bribery and political influence dominate the judicial process, the trial is manipulated, in some cases deliberate.

This year’s theme of the Corruption Perceptions Index is ‘Corruption and Injustice’. Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, said that corruption and injustice are interrelated; Corruption breeds injustice and injustice creates a vicious cycle of corruption.

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