Cyprus Mail

Corruption seen to be on the rise

By Peter Stevenson

NINETY-nine per cent of Cypriots believe that political parties on the island are corrupt, while 94 per cent believe the police force is corrupt according to a study carried out by Transparency International, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting corruption.

Research was carried out in 22 European countries, polling different age groups on the subject of corruption.

Cyprus’ Corruption Research Barometer was carried out between September 2012 and February 2013 and polled a total of 570 people from the island’s major towns with the use of online questionnaires.

People of all ages were included with those under 19 years of age totalling 24 per cent of people polled, those between 20 and 64 totalling 63 per cent and over 65-year-olds totalling 13 per cent.

On average, from the 22 countries involved in the research, 52 per cent believe that corruption is on the rise in the last two years while 36 per cent believe it has remained the same and 12 per cent believe it has decreased.

The majority of Cypriots believe corruption is on the rise, with 71 per cent answering that they believe it has increased during the last two years. 79 per cent of those polled believe corruption is a serious problem on the island.

Over two thirds of Cypriots, 68 per cent, believe that knowing someone in the public sector plays an important role in getting things done while 90 per cent of those polled believe that the majority of people are affected by the interests of a small group of the population.

Most Cypriots believe that government efforts to stamp out corruption are ineffective with 83 per cent answering they believe the state has been unsuccessful in stamping it out.

Compared to the other countries taking part, Cyprus had the highest percentage of those who believe the government was not doing enough to battle the problem.

Ninety-nine per cent of Cypriots believe political parties are corrupt, 95 per cent believe parliament is corrupt, 94 per cent believe the police force is corrupt while 93 per cent said they believe the mass media is corrupt.

Cyprus was ranked in sixth place from the 22 countries involved in the research when it came to the amount of bribery required to get something done.

According to those polled, the majority of bribes paid in Cyprus go towards medical and health services (14 per cent) and land registry services (13 per cent). The most common reason to justify paying bribes was to speed things up (60 per cent), while 32 per cent said it was the only way to obtain a service.

Almost three quarters of those asked said they would be willing to contribute to the fight against corruption. Around 96 per cent of those asked said they would be willing to sign a petition demanding the government does more to fight corruption. Some 84 per cent said they were willing to spread the word about the problem through social networking while 81 per cent said they would be willing to take part in a peaceful protest.

Around 74 per cent of Cypriots believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. Over one third (37 per cent) stated they would report any incidents of corruption to a government helpline, 23 per cent said they would report to the institution responsible, 17 per cent would report it to a non-profit organisation and 18 per cent to the media.

Of those who said they would not report any incidents, 48 per cent said it would not make a difference while 47 per cent said they were worried about the consequences if they reported it.

Cyprus recorded the highest percentage from all of the 22 countries of those who were worried they would suffer the consequences of reporting corruption.

Transparency International is active in nearly 100 countries around the world and raises awareness of the devastating effects of corruption and works with governments, businesses and international organisations to develop effective programmes to tackle it.

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