New Zealand rated least corrupt country
Somalia bent as a nine bob note
New Zealand has been rated the world's least corrupt country for 2009, topping Transparency International's "Corruption Perceptions Index" (CPI) with a squeaky-clean 9.4 out of 10 in the league table of just how corrupt, or otherwise, nations are reckoned to be.
Last year's winner Denmark is relegated to second spot, with 9.3, followed by Singapore and Sweden (9.2 apiece), and Switzerland (9.0).
The CPI is based on 13 independent surveys and rates 180 countries according to "the perceived level of public-sector corruption in a country/territory".* The least dodgy performers are happy lands boasting "political stability, long-established conflict of interest regulations and solid, functioning public institutions".
At the bottom of the the list is Somalia, with a lamentable 1.1, propping up Afghanistan (1.3), Myanmar (1.4). Sudan (1.5) and Iraq (1.5). These poor showings "demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn apart their governance infrastructure".
Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society.
"The international community must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries to develop and sustain their own institutions.”
Oh yes, the UK and US feature in 17th and 19th spots, respectively, with scores of 7.7 and 7.5. Regular readers will doubtless be eager to learn that Nigeria secured the joint 130th place on the podium, sharing a score of 2.5 with Honduras, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania. Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda.
*Inversely, of course, otherwise NZ would be at the bottom of the list.