Corruption Index Cites Burma, Somalia

Associated Press
Thursday, September 27, 2007

LONDON, Sept. 26 -- Burma and Somalia have been ranked the most corrupt countries in Transparency International's 2007 index, which was released Wednesday.

Transparency International's2007 Corruption Perceptions Index scored 180 countries based on the degree to which corruption is perceived among public officials and politicians. The lower the ranking, the higher the perception.

Burma and Somalia received the lowest score, 1.4 out of 10.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were ranked the least corrupt, each scoring 9.4.

"Countries torn apart by conflict pay a huge toll in their capacity to govern," the agency's international chairman, Huguette Labelle, said in a statement. "With public institutions crippled or nonexistent, mercenary individuals help themselves to public resources and corruption thrives."

Western governments have accused Burma's military junta, which seized power in 1988, of turning what was considered a jewel of Southeast Asia into one of its most miserable places through repression, mismanagement and corruption.

Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on one another. The current, U.N.-backed government was formed in 2004 but has struggled to assert any real control.

Transparency International's scale is based on the perceptions of businesspeople and analysts about the degree of corruption in a particular country. Countries are ranked on a scale of 10; any score below 5 indicates "serious" perceived levels of corruption, and scores below 3 reflect "rampant" corruption, the agency said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company