|Daily Mirror cartoon: How police become corrupt|
The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) released by Transparency International on 9 July, contains findings suggesting that corruption is still perceived as a problem in Sri Lanka, with some 64% of Sri Lankan respondents claiming corruption was on the increase in the country in the past two years, while only 18% thought it has decreased.
For the second time running within three years, the general public in Sri Lanka rated Police as the most corrupt institution in the country. When taken as a whole, in South Asia, political parties have been perceived as the most corrupt institution.
According to the GCB report, more than 72% of the people surveyed in Sri Lanka believe ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. Over 78% showed their willingness to ask the government to do more to combat corruption.
When asked for their views on the effectiveness of the current government in the fight against corruption, 47% of them have said the government is inefficient in combating corruption.
Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (the Barometer) is the world’s largest public opinion survey to collect the general public’s views on, and experiences of corruption. The Barometer explores the general public’s views about corruption levels in their country and their government’s efforts to fight corruption.
The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries, and it shows corruption is widespread. Between September 2012 and February 2013, more than 6,000 people were interviewed from six different countries in South Asia on their views of corruption levels in their countries and their governments’ efforts to fight corruption.
More than one person in two thinks corruption has worsened in the last two years, according to the GCB, but survey participants also firmly believe they can make a difference and have the will to take action against graft.
“Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant,” the Chair of Transparency International, Huguette Labelle, said. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 also found that, in too many countries, the institutions people rely on to fight corruption and other crimes are themselves not to be trusted. Thirty-six countries view police as the most corrupt, and in those countries, an average of 53% of people had been asked to pay a bribe to the police. Twenty countries view the judiciary as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 30% of the people who had come in contact with judicial systems had been asked to pay a bribe.
“Governments need to take this cry against corruption from their citizenry seriously, and respond with concrete action to elevate transparency and accountability,” Labelle said, adding, “Strong leadership is needed from the G20 governments in particular. In the 17 countries surveyed in the G20, 59% of respondents said their governments are not doing a good job at fighting corruption.”
Politicians themselves have much to do to regain trust. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice. In 51 countries around the world, political parties are seen as the most corrupt institution. Fifty five per cent of respondents think their government is run by special interests.