World’s Poor Hard Hit By Bribery

A global survey has revealed that the impact of the ongoing financial crisis has increased people’s fears of corruption among private companies and that most people believe private firms paid bribes to influence public policy, laws and regulations.

Transparency International (TI) said 53% of 73,000 respondents from 69 countries polled for 2009 Global Corruption Barometer now saw the private sector as being corrupt, up from 45% in 2004. However, respondents said political parties were the most corrupt bodies.

In roughly a fifth of the countries and territories surveyed, including countries home to some of the world’s major financial centers, such as Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland, respondents identified the private sector as the most corrupt institution.

Private sector bribery of politicians was seen as a particularly grave problem in Georgia and Armenia, but a major issue in the U.S. and Canada, said the TI. The report also found that half of the respondents were willing to pay a premium to buy from corruption-free companies.

“These results show a public sobered by a financial crisis precipitated by weak regulations and a lack of corporate accountability,” said Huguette Labelle, chairperson of the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog.

More than one in 10 respondents said they had to pay a bride over the past year, with the police seeen as pocketing the most illegal money. The Barometer also found the poor and low-income groups to be disproportionately burdened by bride demands.

Also, government initiatives to combat corruption are generaaly perceived as ineffective, in addition to high levels of alleged corruption in political parties, parliament and the civil service.

Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Uganda was the most affected countries with more than half the respondents saying they had pay a bribe in the past year.

Source: www.rttnews.com

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