Egypt in 2014 least corrupt since launch of CPI: Transparency International
Courtesy of Transparency International website
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: Egypt scored 37 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released Wednesday, the highest the country has reached since the survey first launched in 1995.

The Arab country’s scores, however, have been close through the years. Ranking 114th in 2013 and 2012, Egypt dropped to the 94th place in 2014 among 175 countries and territories. Cairo has consistently been a subject in the CPI except in 1995 and 1997.

“A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs,” Transparency International, which identifies as “the global coalition against corruption,” said in the report.

The closest score possible to 2014’s was in 2011, when Egypt achieved a score of 36. In the years leading to the January 25 Revolution in 2011, Egypt scored in the twenties, except in 2010 where it scored 31.

The coalition surveys institutions like the World Economic Forum, the World Justice Project and the Economic Intelligence Unit to collect data on perceived public sector corruption.

Egypt scored 32 in 2013 and 2012, and 29 in 2011.

“Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favor of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries,” chair of Transparency International José Ugaz said.

Egypt and the Middle East

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Israel were the least corrupt in the Middle East and North Africa, ranking 25, 26, and 37, respectively, in the global ranking. Three of the 10 most corrupt countries in this year’s CPI are in MENA; Sudan, Iraq and Libya respectively.

Ghada Zughayar, director of the MENA department at Transparency International, stated that the reforms that were aspired to following the mass protests that spread across the region in 2011 did not take place.

In her statement on the MENA’s CPI, she recommended the separation of powers between executive and legislative branches be a top priority for those newly elected into office, and that judiciaries be devoid of political interference. She also criticized the clampdown on civil society, which she said plays a significant role in combating corruption.

Egyptian authorities threatened to close NGO’s that do not register with the Ministry of Solidarity by a Nov. 10 deadline, and yield to a law that activists say would turn the civil society into “quasi-government.” Some NGOs have closed down voluntarily, and others continue to work unregistered and unharmed – thus far.

“One of the main problems for the poor showing of most Middle East and North African countries on the index is a lack of important laws that give the public the opportunity to monitor how their money is spent,” Zughayar said.

The Cabinet approved Tuesday a draft law presented by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to amend the statute of limitations in the Penal Code, so it is counted from the time a public servant is out of office, rather than from the time of the alleged crime.

The amendment was triggered by the dropping of graft charges against former President Hosni Mubarak Saturday because over 10 years have passed since he allegedly accepted a bribe.

Meanwhile, the Central Auditing Organization, an independent Egyptian watchdog, has repeatedly reported difficulties conducting its work monitoring state institutions.

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