To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day in December, Transparency International released the results of its 2004 Global Corruption Barometer highlighting ongoing corruption, especially in the developing world. The survey found that worldwide, 1 in 10 people said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe in the previous year.
The survey polled more than 50,000 people in 64 countries people between June and September 2004.
The rate of bribery was, not surprisingly, much higher in developing countries. For example, in Cameroon more than 50 percent of respondents said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe.
In Nigeria, Kenya, Lithuania and Moldova, 1 in 3 respondents said they or a household member had paid a bribe.
There was some good news, such as surprisingly low levels of bribe paying in South Africa, as well as a surprising level of corruption in Greece where 11 percent of those polled admitted they or a household member had paid a bribe.
Transparency International board member Akere Muna, who heads up the organization’s Cameroon branch, said in a press release,
It is time to use international co-operation to enforce a policy of zero tolerance of political corruption, and to put an end to practices whereby politicians put themselves above the law — stealing from ordinary citizens and hiding behind parliamentary immunity.
Political parties and politicians they nominate for election are entrusted with great power and great hopes by the people who vote for them. Political leaders must not abuse that trust by serving corrupt or selfish interests once they are in power.
According to the BBC, the World Bank estimates that as more than $1 trillion is paid out annually worldwide in bribes.
One in 10 families ‘pays bribes’. The BBC, December 9, 2004.
Political parties are most corrupt institution worldwide according to TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004. Press Release, Transparency International, December 9, 2004.