Study: No progress in fight against corruption

Tanzanians feel government officials are much more corrupt this year than they were last year, according to a global survey published yesterday.

Tanzania dropped two places to 102nd in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, which has listed 174 countries.

“This means the public sector is perceived by the people as more corrupt this year than it was last year. The bigger the number of the rank the more corrupt the country is,” the report says.

However, Tanzania is still the second least corrupt country in East Africa after Rwanda. Burundi is the most corrupt country in the region, followed by Kenya and Uganda.

Rwanda retains its status as the region’s least corrupt country despite dropping one place in the global rankings to 50th.Uganda, Kenya and Burundi have climbed to 130th, 139th and 165th from 143rd, 154th and 172nd, respectively.

Globally, Denmark is the least corrupt country, followed by Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore. 

The same countries were in the top five last year but in different ranks, with New Zealand being the least corrupt country, followed by Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Singapore.

The US, China, the UK and Germany are 19th, 80th, 17th and 13th, respectively, this year.

In Africa, Botswana is the least corrupt country at 30th globally followed by Cape Verde (39th) and Mauritius (43rd).

Efforts to get an immediate reaction from the minister of State in the President’s Office (Good Governance), Mr George Mkuchika, to Tanzania’s apparent lack of progress in fighting corruption were futile after he asked that any queries be submitted to him in writing.

“I am travelling outside the country, but my principle is that you tell me what you want me to comment on in writing, and then I reply in writing, complete with my signature,” he said.

But some activists said the findings were not surprising as the war on graft in the country had grinded to a halt.

“It is not surprising that corruption in the public sector is getting worse. If the ruling party itself cannot contain corruption within its own ranks, what do you expect the government to do?” queried Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director of the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Commission (LHRC).

Mr Moses Kulaba of Agenda Participation 2000, an organisation that raises awareness on corruption, among other issues, said the public had lost faith in the government as far as fighting corruption was concerned.

“We must overhaul key institutions such as the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of Criminal Investigation, Controller and Auditor General and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority to make them more effective in fighting corruption,” he said.

Mr Kulaba added: “The Police Force and Judiciary must also be overhauled if they are to deal with people who are presently considered untouchable. 

"The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau’s budget should not be dependent on donors, and neither should the agency be under the President’s Office.”

Mr Buberwa Kaiza of the Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA) said the findings mirrored the corruption situation in the country.

“The PCCB Act needs to be amended to allow foreign investigators to come in and assist the bureau in investigating serious cases of corruption,” he said.
Source: The Citizen, thecitizen.co.tz, reported from Dar es Salaam
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