11 December 2012
Perception of corruption in Timor-Leste improves but still perceived as highly corrupt
ETLJB 11 December 2012 - Transparency International has listed Timor-Leste at number 113 out of the 176 countries and territories appearing on the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 - 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. Timor-Leste scored 33/100 alongside Albania, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Niger. A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories included in the index.
Of Timor-Leste's closest neighbours, Australia scored 85 while Indonesia was even worse than Timor-Leste scoring 118.
According to Transparency International, "corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts."
Transparency International also states that "[c]orruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes.........It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or health care. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds."
Following a national forum on corruption in Timor-Leste that was held to mark International Corruption Day on 9 December 2012, former President Jose Ramos Horta was reported by Suara Timor Lorosae on 10 December as saying that corruption is a disease that destroys the people's lives while enriching a small group and impedes the country's development.
Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Aderito de Jesus Soares, was also reported as saying that the Transparency International report showed Timor-Leste’s index on combating corruption was good compared with the last few years when the country was listed at 143. He added that the forum was very important to help fight corruption in Timor-Leste and that the participation all the Timorese people was necessary.
But according to Transparency International, it is Governments that need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making. "They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.
After a year with a global focus on corruption, we expected more governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power. The Corruption Perceptions Index results demonstrate that there are still many societies and governments that need to give a much higher priority to this issue." Sources: Transparency International, Suara Timor Lorosae. Edited by Warren L. Wright