Bangladesh still languishes among world's most corrupt countries

The country drops one notch on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index with its score unchanged

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Bangladesh has been ranked 147 out of 180 in corruption by Transparency International, which said it was one of the countries with a concerning trend of weakening of anti-corruption institutions.

The country has dropped one notch on the Berlin-based organization’s Corruption Perception Index 2021 with the score unchanged at 26. 

Bangladesh's score puts it in the bottom fifth of the countries surveyed.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100.

The best ranked countries are Finland and New Zealand, with a score of 88. The worst is South Sudan with 11.

Bangladesh is the second most corruption-riddled country in South Asia, with Afghanistan (with a score of 16) being the worst, according to the rankings.

In the region, India ranks 85 with a score of 40, Sri Lanka ranks 102 with a score of 37, Nepal at 117 with a score of 33, and Pakistan at 140 with a score of 28.

"Despite the fact that whistleblowers, journalists and a vigilant public can help safeguard funds from corruption, Covid-19 has also been used as an excuse to suppress criticism. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Singapore are just a few countries that have increased digital surveillance to silence those trying to hold governments accountable during the pandemic," according to TI. 

"As authoritarian regimes refine their cyber-surveillance technologies, vicious online harassment by government-backed trolls is further restricting freedom of speech."

The index was prepared from the results of eight surveys on Bangladesh. The report cites abuse of power, lack of justice, lack of expression and accountability as the main reasons behind the corruption.

Bangladesh has not made any progress in terms of scores for the last few years.

"It is disappointing," said Iftekharuzzman, executive director of Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB), on Tuesday.

"The reason behind it is the failure to transform high profile anti-corruption pledges into reality," he added.

Mentioning that the authorities had failed to reduce corruption, he said: “Although there is a political commitment from the highest echelons of the government to show zero tolerance against corruption, it is not being implemented properly.”

Bangladesh was listed in the TI report as the most corrupt country in the world for 5 consecutive years from 2001 to 2005. 

Although the situation gradually started to improve since then, the score has not improved in the last four years.

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