Nepal slips 4 places in TI’s graft listingNepal’s image as one the most corrupt countries in the world has taken a further beating, Transparency International (TI) said in its annual report published on Wednesday.
Nepal’s image as one the most corrupt countries in the world has taken a further beating, Transparency International (TI) said in its annual report published on Wednesday.
In the latest “Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015 of the global corruption watchdog, Nepal has been ranked 130th out of 168 surveyed countries, with a score of 27. Nepal was ranked 126th last year with a score of 29.
The TI score runs from zero, which is highly corrupt, to 100, which is very clean.
Nepal’s slip in ranking in the CPI has been attributed largely to public servants’ abuse of authority for personal gains and weak control over public servants.
“The survey shows action taken against public servants involved in abusing authority was weak,” said TI-Nepal’s President Bharat Bahadur Thapa while releasing the CPI report in Kathmandu. “It indicates strong inclination among civil servants towards abusing authority for personal gains.”
Although Nepal’s score in civil society’s access to public sector, imports and exports of goods and public procurement is relatively satisfactory as compared to previous years, corruption on indicators relating to performance of public position holders scored worst. Nepal’s standing was also very bleak in areas of “state of control in abuse of public servants’ authority”.
The performance of Nepali government, Parliament and judiciary was also reflected poorly in the survey.
“This demonstrates government’s total indifference towards fighting corruption. The rare commitments made by the government to adopt zero tolerance on corruption proved nothing but lip service,” said Thapa.
Before May 2013, absence of constitutionally appointed commissioners at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the apex anti-graft body, and ineffectiveness of other anti-corruption bodies, were said to be responsible for rampant corruption in Nepal. Things, however, remain unchanged even after commissioners took charge of the anti-graft body.
Controlling corruption in Nepal remained a frustrating task, with CIAA officials themselves caught in bribery scandals and commissioners found taking dual state facilities. On top of that, there have been widespread allegations that the anti-graft body was overreaching in pursuing investigations, allegedly for personal gains.
This year, the tug of war between parliamentary committees and the CIAA, particularly over scrapping licences of hydropower projects, overshadowed discussions on corruption control.
Officials of other crucial anti-graft bodies like the Department of Money Laundering Investigation were caught red-handed while taking bribe from service seekers. The CIAA had recently summoned civil society members and political leaders over graft allegations without specific charges of their involvement in corruption.
Experts see this grim situation, despite having 16 anti-corruption agencies, as a systematic breakdown of rule of law. “We performed worst while other countries listed as highly corrupt last year have performed better this time,” said Narayan Manandhar, an expert on anti-corruption issues. “We are again back to square one. And all efforts made so far to control corruption have gone in vain.”
In 2011, Nepal was ranked 154th among 182 surveyed countries, with a score of 2.2 on a scale of 0 to 10. “Until now we thought 2011 had been the worst year for corruption, but we have broken that record,” said Manandhar.
Nepal last year was ranked 126th, out of 175 countries surveyed, with a score of 29.
CIAA, however, officials were quick to dismiss the findings, saying the survey was not based on ground reality and CIAA’s anti-corruption drive was not incorporated while finalising the report.
“Despite significant works carried out by the CIAA in controlling corruption, the corruption perception has been shown to have risen Nepal,” said CIAA
Spokesperson Krishna Hari Pushkar, stressing on the need of home-grown surveys. “Some NGOs prepared this report without visiting Nepal and without incorporating our recent works and data.