Report places Burma among most corrupt countries

Sep 24, 2008 (DVB), Burma has remained at the bottom of a list ranking 180 countries from cleanest to most corrupt in an annual study by Transparency International.

In this year's report, Burma was ranked in the bottom three, on a par with Iraq and slightly above Somalia.

Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index draws on expert and business surveys to measure perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Burma shared the lowest spot with Somalia in the 2007 rankings, though both countries' scores are down this year.

Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden topped the chart this year as the cleanest countries, closely followed by Singapore.

Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International, linked high levels of corruption with failed institutions and humanitarian need.

"In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play," Labelle said in a press release.

"The continuing high levels of corruption and poverty plaguing many of the world's societies amount to an ongoing humanitarian disaster and cannot be tolerated."

Labelle said robust legal frameworks and vigilant monitoring were needed to lower levels of corruption.

"Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society," Labelle said.

"When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly."

Reporting by DVB

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