Nigeria is most corrupt country, 'poll of polls' indicates International organization questioned business people

June 02, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Nigeria tops the list of countries that international business ZTC people consider the most corrupt, according to a ranking that is to be published today by a Berlin-based independent organization, Transparency International.

Fifty-four countries involved in international business are ranked by Transparency International in its second annual corruption index.

The rankings are based on results from 10 surveys made by management and risk-analysis organizations, as well as on information volunteered by representatives of international companies through the Internet.

After Nigeria, business people ranked Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, China, Cameroon, Venezuela, Russia, India and Indonesia as the countries they thought of as most corrupt.

The 10 least corrupt countries this year were New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia -- the same countries on last year's 10-least-corrupt list.

The United States was judged the 15th-least-corrupt place, with a slightly worse reputation than Israel but better than Austria.

The findings are stored and analyzed at Goettingen University in Germany, where research on the corruption index is led by Johann Lambsdorff, an economist.

Lambsdorff calls the results a "poll of polls" that reports perceptions of people in international business, mostly from industrialized nations, who deal regularly with foreign companies and governments worldwide.

Transparency International defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private benefits," including embezzlement or demands for bribes or kickbacks.

"Most of the bribes on international contracts are paid by executives of corporations in the most advanced industrial countries," said Peter Eigen, the organization's chairman, in a statement accompanying the 1996 report.

"It remains an outrage that most of the governments of these countries have not legislated to curb international corrupt practices."

The United States is almost alone among major industrial countries with a law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, outlawing bribery.

Transparency International, which describes itself as a global coalition against corruption, was founded in 1993 by former World Bank officials and others who had encountered corrupt practices in international contracts.

Pub Date: 6/02/96

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