US climbs ahead in corruption rankings

in Asia, the story continues to be one of corruption, according to Transparency International’s 2012 Corruptions Perception Index, but in the US slight gains regarding honest dealings have been achieved.

The US slightly improved its corruption standings in this year's Transparency International Corruptions Perception Index, moving ahead five spaces to 19th in the rankings.

The UK, the industry's other major centre of activity, however fell one spot to 17th in the 2012 rankings, tied with Japan. 

The rankings may be more closely watched this year as the US and UK continue to ramp up enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Bribery Act respectively. 

More than half of the countries in Asia were ranked below the index's world average. 

Out of 21 Asian countries, twelve, mainly in Southeast Asia, had scores below the average worldwide score of 43 while nine scored above the average.

At the top end of the list was New Zealand, which was in a three-way tie for first place with Denmark and Finland as the world’s least corrupt nation. Other Asian countries in the “cleanest” ten percent of the rankings were Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. 

Select results

A score of 100 is “very clean” and a score of 0 is “highly corrupt”

Rank Score
1.   New Zealand  90
1.   Finland                    90
1.   New Zealand        90
5.  Singapore  87
7.  Australia  85
9.   Canada                   84
13  Germany                79
14.  Hong Kong  77
17.  Japan   74
17. UK                             74
19. US                              73
22. France                     71
45. South Korea  56
54. Turkey                     49
69. Brazil                        43
72. Italy                          42
80. China   39
94.  India  36

At the bottom end were Laos, with a score of 21 and Myanmar (15).

According to a statement from Transparency International, two-thirds of the world's 176 countries scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.

“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making,” said Huguette Labelle, the chair of Transparency International.

“Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people.” 

The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries worldwide. It’s based on a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption collected by a variety of reputable institutions.