Somalia, N. Korea the world's most corrupt governments

Dec. 1, 2011 at 1:32 PM
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BERLIN, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Somalia and North Korea are the most corrupt governments, while New Zealand and Finland are the least corrupt, Transparency International said Thursday.

"This year we have seen corruption on protestors' banners be they rich or poor," Huguette Labelle, chairwoman of Transparency International, said during the release of the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.

"Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government."

The report documents "governments failing to protect citizens from corruption, be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making," TI said.

Data compiled for 183 countries from 17 separate surveys was used to develop corruption indices from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean). Two-thirds of the countries in the report scored less than 5.

"Protests around the world, often fueled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough," the release said.

"2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people," Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt said.

Eurozone countries plagued by debt crises were among the lowest-scoring EU countries, while most governments in so-called Arab Spring nations mostly scored 4 or below.

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