By Angelos Anastasiou
Cyprus’ rating on perceived corruption has remained unchanged since 2013, tied at 31st place countries with Botswana, Portugal and Puerto Rico among 175 countries, the global corruption watchdog Transparency International’s 20th annual report said on Wednesday.
Despite a recent outbreak of revelations of scandals involving public officials, the crisis-ridden island retained a rating of 63, a slight drop from 2012’s score of 66.
Transparency International’s annual report measures perceptions of graft rather than actual levels, using a scale where 100 stands for the most clean and 0 for the most corrupt.
“The Corruption Perceptions Index scores in many of the countries of the European Union remain unchanged or have improved slightly,” the report noted. “In part, this is because the economic situation has stabilised, at least at present, and in some cases, governments are starting to tackle endemic corruption.”
Its 2014 report, released on Wednesday, suggested that Turkey and China had suffered the biggest drop in their ratings, by five and four points respectively.
Turkey ranked 64th with 45 points, tied with Oman and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while China, clocking in a paltry 36, ranked 100th along with Suriname and Algeria.
A series of stories this year involved “endemic corruption at the highest levels of Turkey’s business and government,” the non-governmental organisation said.
Only 53 of the 175 countries in the index passed the nominal 50 per cent bar, with Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, Afghanistan and South Sudan once again at the bottom.
Also at the top in 2013, Denmark retained the top spot with 92 points, an improvement of one point on last year’s score, while New Zealand, Finland, Sweden and Norway again comprised the top five.
Scoring 26 points and ranked 142nd, Ukraine remained the European country with the highest perceived level of corruption. Italy, Greece and Romania, each scoring 43 and tied for the 69th spot, fared worst among the European Union member states – though the Greeks were the only ones from the trio to have boosted their rating in the last two years.
“Although incomplete and piecemeal, the reforms that have been started in Greece suggest an explanation as to why it has moved up the rankings by three points (and up seven points in the last two years),” the report said.
Transparency International urged the EU, United States and G20 countries to follow Denmark’s lead and create a public register that includes beneficial ownership information for all incorporated companies.