Friday, December 23, 2011

South Asian plagued by corruption of police, politicians, public officials

SALEEM SAMAD

THE SOUTH Asian regularly have to pay bribes daily when dealing with their public institutions, whether to speed up paperwork, avoid harassment with the police, or access basic services.

International watchdog Transparency International on Thursday stated that police was perceived to be the most corrupt institution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the second most corrupt institution in India.

Public perceptions of corruption released by Berlin based global corruption watchdog across all six of the South Asian countries– Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – found corruption levels to be highest in political parties and the police, followed closely by the parliament and public officials.

In Bangladesh the most common reason for giving bribe to police was to receive a service and also to avoid problems with the authorities.

However, government leaders were named as the most trusted to fight corruption in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. On the other hand, the media was the most trusted institution in India and Nepal.

The Transparency International study between 2010 and 2011 more than 7500 people were interviewed in six South Asian countries on their views of corruption levels in their countries and also to determine their governments’ efforts to fight corruption.

These results demonstrate an important difference in how corruption is perceived in the countries of South Asia. In Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, people were most likely to pay bribes to the police.

Surprisingly the religious bodies were perceived to be the least corrupt institution, the study said.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com