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Nepal among countries with 'high risk' of defence corruption

Publication Date : 04-02-2013


A new defence corruption index formulated by Transparency International (TI) has placed Nepal on a list of countries with a high risk of corruption.

The first ever survey of corruption risk in the defence sphere, conducted by Transparency International UK (TI-UK), classified surveyed countries into eight categories (from Band A to F) and placed Nepal in Band D, taking into account the accountability of defence ministries and the armed forces and transparency of “secret” spending for defence. Countries placed in Band A are considered to have low levels of corruption while countries classified in Band E and F are at critical risk of corruption.

Of a total 82 countries surveyed, 60 per cent of them were placed in Band D, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Serbia, Singapore, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Ukraine, South Africa, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Palestine, Rwanda, Tanzania and Turkey.

According to the survey, most countries in Band D do not audit secret budgets. The report further mentions that emerging global powers like China lack proper scrutiny into their defence budgets. “The lack of scrutiny in China is a notable problem. Highly centralised structures ensure a wealth of regulations in the defence sector but the concentration of power itself creates corruption risks,” states the report.

Although the Nepal government ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2011, the Nepal Army, along with the judiciary, non-governmental organisations and political parties have yet come under the jurisdiction of the Commission for the Investigation of the Abuse of Authority, the country’s anti-graft body.

Only two countries—Australia and Germany—were found to have adequate levels of transparency and strong institutionalised activities to address corruption risks. These two countries are placed in Band A for demonstrating very low levels of corruption risks. According to the report, the US, the United Kingdom, Sweden and South Korea were among countries judged to be at low risk while France, Spain, Italy and Poland were judged to be at moderate risk.

In contrast, countries placed in Band E, signifying “very high risks” of corruption, include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda and Venezuela while Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Eritrea are placed in Band F, as at “critical risk” of corruption.

Mark Pyman, director of the Defence and Security Programme under TI-UK, said that the survey, which covers countries from major arms-producing nations to “fragile” countries, will provides nations with “a wealth of material” for their improvement.


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