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The latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International was released today. The CPI scores 180 countries and territories around the world based on perceptions of public sector corruption. The scores reflect the views of experts and surveys from businesspeople. The CPI is calculated using data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk and consulting companies, think tanks and others. The CPI uses a scale from 0 to 100; 100 is very clean and 0 is highly corrupt.

Sri Lanka’s score in the 2021 CPI stands at 37, one point lower than the previous year (38). Sri Lanka’s rank has dropped from 94th in 2020 to 102 in 2021. Over the past 10 years Sri Lanka’s CPI score has remained relatively the same with the lowest score of 36 being reported in 2016 and the highest score of 40 being reported in 2012.

Types of public sector corruption captured in the CPI encompass bribery, diversion of public funds, effective prosecution of corruption cases, adequate legal frameworks, access to information, and legal protections for whistleblowers, journalists and investigators.

According to Transparency International, Sri Lanka’s overall performance is in line with the observation that corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86 per cent of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years.

Transparency International notes that the global COVID-19 pandemic has been used in many countries as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances. It adds that despite the increasing international momentum to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies, many high-scoring countries with relatively “clean” public sectors continue to enable transnational corruption.

The top countries on the Index are Denmark (88), Finland (88) and
New Zealand (88) while Somalia (13), Syria (13) and South Sudan (11) remain at the bottom of the CPI.

Transparency International makes the following recommendations to governments to combat the vicious cycle of corruption, human rights violations and democratic decline:

  • Uphold the rights needed to hold power to account.
  • Restore and strengthen institutional checks on power.
  • Combat transnational forms of corruption.
  • Uphold the right to information in government spending.

* Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is a local chapter of Transparency International which is a global movement against corruption, committed to promoting good governance and eradicating corruption. Data on Sri Lanka used by Transparency International when compiling the annual Corruption Perceptions Index is obtained by sources external to TISL, as explained above.

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