The annual survey by the Berlin-based watchdog has placed Nepal in 126th position with a score of 29 among 175 countries. It was placed 116th on the index among 176 countries last year. The CPI measures the extent of corruption within a country on a scale ranging from zero to 100. Countries securing higher scores are rated as the least corrupt and those with low scores are perceived to the most corrupt.
According to the TI, countries that score below 50 are perceived as highly corrupt and those that secure 100 are cleanest. Except Bhutan all South Asian countries secured scores below 50, with Afghanistan ranked the most corrupt country in the region. Bhutan is the least corrupt in the region with a score of 65, followed by India (38); Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh (29) and Afghanistan (12).
India has improved on its perception on corruption, securing 38 points to climb up 10 places from last year to be ranked 85th. China, however, has dropped 100 places down from 80th position last year to finish with a score of 40 despite its very public campaigns against graft. China was placed at the 80 position with 40 scores last year while India was placed at 94the position with 36 score last year.
The index shows Denmark has the lowest perceived level of corruption with a score of 92, while North Korea and Somalia level on 8 points are jointly ranked as the most corruption prone countries.
Nepal’s decline on the TI index comes at a time when the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA)—the anti-graft body—has arrested hundreds of junior-level staffers for accepting bribes. “The survey has covered all issues related with corruption ranging from bribery to institutional policy. So mere action against bribery could not produce positive result,” said Transparency International Nepal’s President Bharat Bahadur Thapa. CIAA officials, who claim to have curbed corruption to an extent, blamed politicians for the worsened perception.
“We are doing everything possible from our side. But the perception on the political sector was bad compared to the previous bureaucrat-led government,” said CIAA spokesperson Shreedhar Sapkota, adding “ministers in the previous Khil Raj Regmi-led government were relatively cleaner.”
Five independent organisations have assessed Nepal’s corruption, dividing it into five categories—people’s perception on corruption, country’s policy and institutional assessment, opinion survey on import and export.
Nepal, which secured relatively better scores in other areas, received relatively low scores on assessment of how corruption affected business activities.