Corruption is getting worse, poll reports

10 July 2013

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10 July 2013 | Will Green

One in 20 people in the UK have paid a bribe in the past year when accessing public services and institutions and a third believe corruption is getting worse, a survey has revealed. 

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 also shows the biggest percentage of people (69 per cent) believe the media to be affected by corruption – in the wake of the newspaper phone-hacking scandal and the Leveson inquiry – followed by political parties (66 per cent), government (55 per cent) and the business sector (49 per cent).

Some 5 per cent of respondents in the UK said they had paid a bribe in the past 12 months, up from a figure of three per cent in the same survey in 2009, and 32 per cent said corruption had increased ‘a lot’.

Of those paying a bribe, a majority of more than a fifth reported paying it to the judiciary.

Globally, 27 per cent of people said they had paid a bribe in the past year and half believed corruption to be getting worse. However, nine out of 10 people said they would act against corruption and two thirds said they had refused to pay a bribe.

The poll shows Sierra Leone to be the most corrupt, with 84 per cent of people saying they had paid a bribe.

A report also refers to forms of corruption “when decisions to allocate public resources are distorted by money, power, access, connections or some combination of the above” and recommends that countries enact standards for procurement and public financial management consistent with UN Convention Against Corruption Article 9 and the OECD Principles on Enhancing Integrity in Public Procurement. 

Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International, which conducted the survey, said: “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. 

“Governments need to take this cry against corruption from their citizenry seriously and respond with concrete action to elevate transparency and accountability.

“Strong leadership is needed from the G20 governments in particular. In the 17 countries surveyed in the G20, 59 per cent of respondents said their government is not doing a good job at fighting corruption.”

The survey took place across 107 countries and involved 114,000 members of the public chosen by random sample.

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