Transparency International (TI), an NGO dedicated to fighting global corruption, has released a new resource: a report on findings from the Global Corruption Barometer in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Latin America Barometer highlights updates on the perception of corruption in the region based on a series of surveys conducted in 2016. TI’s UK chapter has released a new anti-bribery tool provides guidance for businesses on understanding and tackling issues of corruption. Read more about it in this blog post.
People and Corruption: Latin America and the Caribbean – Global Corruption Barometer
Latin America has experienced many large cases of corruption in recent years, yet corruption is nothing new to the region. After the indictments of many top politicians and business leaders, Transparency International measured the perception of corruption in Latin American countries, the results of which were published in the recently released Latin American Barometer.
The majority of respondents feel that corruption has increased over the past year. In Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, one third of respondents or more have indicated an increase in corruption in their countries. In Venezuela specifically, the percentage of respondents claiming to perceive such an increase is 87. Moreover, most feel their governments are doing badly at combating corruption (53 percent overall). This was indicated in Venezuela by 76 percent of respondents and in Peru by 73 percent.
The report shows that corruption in Latin America is on the rise with one in three respondents claiming they have paid a bribe in the past year while accessing public services. That is equivalent to more than 90 million people in the 20 countries surveyed. Those in Mexico and Dominican Republic were the most likely to have paid a bribe, as indicated by 51 and 46 percent of respondents respectively. Across the region, nearly half of respondents say police and politicians are the most corrupt. However, the service industries with the greatest bribery risks are healthcare and public schools. One in five respondents claim they had to pay a bribe at public hospitals and schools (20 percent and 18 percent respectively).
Problematic for anti-corruption efforts is that few report corruption. Only nine percent of bribe payers in the survey said they reported it to the authorities. Furthermore, over a quarter (28 percent) of those who did come forward suffered negative consequences in retaliation. Despite this, seven in ten indicate they felt they could make a difference in the fight against corruption. People in Brazil felt the most empowered with 83 percent, followed by people in Costa Rica and Paraguay at 82 percent.
In the report, Transparency International made several recommendations governments can take to lower the rate of corruption in their countries. Some of those recommendations include:
- Take measures to reduce bribery in public services
- Official fees for public services should be clearly displayed
- Enable civil society to engage in fight against corruption
- Strengthen law enforcement and justice institutions
- Ensure an objective, transparent process for appointing judges, protections for judicial salaries and working conditions, and transparent criteria for case assignment
- Lift political immunity for corruption-related cases
- Clean up the police
- Establish permanent accountability mechanism and integrity management systems
- Protect whistleblowers
- Create accessible, anonymous, reporting channels that protect whistleblowers from all forms of retaliation
Read the full report here.