HARARE, January 27 (The Source) – Zimbabwe continues to fare dismally in a major global corruption index, ranked at 150 out of 168 countries, according to results of a 2015 survey published by Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday.
TI, a leading global crusader against graft, says its annual corruption perception index is based on expert opinion and measures perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.
A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries in the index.
There is also a positive correlation between levels of corruption in a country and its overall economic development. At the other end of the spectrum, the 2015 index shows that five of the most corrupt countries in the world also rank among the least peaceful in the world.
Zimbabwe’s score has remained stuck at 21 since 2013, when it marginally improved from 20 in 2012. The country ranked 156 in the 2014 index, but 174 states were included in that year’s survey.
Critics say Zimbabwe’s government is not committed to fighting corruption, apart from President Robert Mugabe’s half-hearted rhetoric against the scourge.
Mugabe last December named an anti-corruption commission, provided for in the 2013 constitution, which includes a commissioner allegedly convicted of fraud and corruption while he worked for the postal service in South Africa.
Zimbabwe is reported to lose billions of dollars through corruption and smuggling in the minerals sector, with serious charges of revenue leakages from state-controlled diamond mines in Marange.
In 2013, Zimbabwe’s police thwarted an unprecedented bid by the anti-corruption commission to arrest three ministers – then mines minister Obert Mpofu, former transport minister Nicholas Goche and Saviour Kasukuwere, who was in charge of the indigenization portfolio at the time. The commission had also obtained a high court warrant, which was subsequently revoked, to search the three ministers’ offices.
Zimbabwe’s auditor-general also routinely issues adverse reports on abuse of public sector funds, but these have gone largely ignored with no discernible action taken against offending officials. Last year’ the auditor-general found 22 ministries, out of a total 26, to have abused funds as well as having flouted procurement procedures and governance rules.
In the 2015 TI rankings, Denmark remains the least corrupt country in the world, while Botswana, which is ranked 28th on the global index, leads Africa with a score of 63.
Zimbabwe’s other sub-Saharan peers, Rwanda (ranked 44th), Mauritius (45th), Namibia (45th), Ghana (56th), Lesotho (61st), Senegal (61st) and South Africa (61st) rank considerably higher.