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Gambia ranked 110th in world corruption index

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia has been ranked 110 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, only better than 70 countries, gauged by Transparency International in a 2022 report released yesterday.

The West African country scored 34 points out of 100 on the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index.  The country was ranked 102nd in 2021,  performing better than Senegal but the French speaking country is now nine points ahead in the latest report. Corruption continues to be a cancer to the progress of The Gambia.

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Reacting to the latest ranking, US-based Gambian social and political commentator, Pa Samba Jaw said: “The continued nonchalance of our government towards this problem can be attributed to a lack of political will, or at best ‘uncleaned hands’. Only those who abhor corruption and are clean can have the moral conviction to fight it.

“Unfortunately, while our government continues to drag its feet, Gambians, and poor Gambians continue to suffer. Corruption is responsible for the dangerous back-way to Europe, premature deaths at our hospitals due to lack of proper medication and or equipment, dilapidated schools, and lack of job opportunities for the youths, if our resources were fully invested into where they are needed without being pilfered by a few officials, we would be having a more progressive country,” he said.

Ironically, Jaw added, “our culture tends to encourage and celebrate corruption and corrupt people, particularly politicians. When have our cultural and religious leaders ever rebuked corruption in words and actions? As President Biden rightly put it: Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defence. It’s patriotism. I hope we the people, especially the young, will stand firm against corruption.”

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The CPI scores and ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be by experts and business executives.

According to the report, 32 percent of people thought corruption increased in the previous 12 months while 21 percent of public service users paid a bribe in the previous 12 months.

The report added that 124 countries have stagnant corruption levels, while the number of countries in decline is increasing. This, Transparency International added, has the most serious consequences, as global peace is deteriorating.

It added that top-scoring countries need to clamp down on corporate secrecy, foreign bribery and complicit professional enablers, such as bankers and lawyers.

“They must also take advantage of new ways of working together to ensure that illicit assets can be effectively traced, investigated, confiscated and returned to the victims,” it added.

For the past years, many corruption allegations have been raised by the media and civil society organisations, alleging some top government officials of corruption and misuse of government resources in their respective institutions.

Despite President Barrow’s quest to eradicate corruption during his tenure as President, many believe corruption is more rampant in his government than the former President Yahya Jammeh’s era, who fires any suspected corrupt public officer and sends them behind bars.

The Transparency International Corruptions Perception Index is used as a proxy for assessing the level of government corruption for each economy.

The CPI ranges on a scale from 0-100 where 0 is absolute corruption and 100 is no perception of government corruption. Gambia’s level of Corruption Perception is 34 against a global average of 44.5.

Transparency International uses bribery, diversion of public funds, officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences, ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector, excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption, nepotistic appointments in the civil service, laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest, Legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption, state capture by narrow vested interests and access to information on public affairs/government activities as determinants.

Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International’s flagship research product, has become the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. It offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe.

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