Transparency International Says India Most Corrupt in Asia

A Transparency International (TI) study of 16 Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, has found that India has the highest bribery rate.  69% of survey respondents in India said they have paid a bribe, given a gift or done a favor to receive government services like education and health care. Vietnam follows with 65%, Thailand 41% and Pakistan 40%. China reported a much lower 26%.

Corruption in Asia. Source: Transparency International 2017


The Transparency International study released in March 2017 is part of a regional series for the Global Corruption Barometer.  22,000 people participated in the survey to answer questions about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region.

The study found that Japan has the lowest incidence of bribery at 0.2 per cent. South Korea and Australia recorded 3% each, Hong Kong 2% and Taiwan 6%. While 46% to 60% of Indians say they paid bribes for various public services, including in public schools and hospitals and for getting IDs, voter cards and permits and accessing utilities and the police, 31% to 45% said they paid bribes for court services as well.

Unlike the rest of Asia, the poorest people are the biggest victims of corruption in India (73%), Pakistan (64%) and Thailand (46%).

Poor vs Rich Victims of Corruption in Asia. Source: TI

Pakistan fares worse than India in terms of bribes paid to police and courts but better in access to schools and health facilities.

The TI report said that "police top the list of public services most often demanding a bribe. Just under a third of people who had come into contact with a police officer in the last 12 months said they paid a bribe. Overall, 38 per cent of the poorest people surveyed said they paid a bribe, which is the highest proportion of any income group".

Although this report suggests Pakistan is doing better than its neighbor India, the corruption levels in Pakistan remain very high relative to more developed Asian economies. The worst part of it is that the poorest people who can least afford to pay bribes are the biggest victims of such corrupt practices. Fighting corruption requires a broad-based effort. The mass media need to play a role in exposing it; the lawyers and the judges need to do their part to address it. And the civil society at large needs to speak up whenever and wherever they see it.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Panama Leaks, Musharraf and Sharifs

Pakistani Leaders in London After Panama Leaks

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Zardari Corruption Probe

President Pervez Musharraf's Legacy

We Hang Petty Thieves and Appoint Great Ones to High Offices



Comments

Riaz Haq said…
‘Over-invoicing by power companies’: PIL in Delhi HC seeks SIT probe against firms
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is currently investigating over a dozen firms, including firms of the Adani Group, Essar Group and Reliance ADAG Group, among others for alleged over valuation of Indonesian coal imports and power equipment imports between 2011 and 2015.

http://indianexpress.com/article/business/companies/over-invoicing-by-power-companies-pil-in-delhi-hc-seeks-sit-probe-against-firms-4842567/lite/

The NGOs, through senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, have alleged that some power firms are involved in “over-invoicing of about 400 per cent of power equipment and fuel in order to siphon off money to their promoter firms registered in tax havens and also in order to inflate electricity tariffs which are based on the cost of equipment and fuel”.
“This is a very serious matter involving tens of thousands of crore. The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry against some Adani Group firms, which was closed during the tenure of Ranjit Sinha, who is now being investigated by the SIT. Over-invoicing by these firms leads to taking more loans from banks than is required, cheating of consumers as higher tariffs are passed on to the consumers and cheating of shareholders of these firms as money is being siphoned off abroad,” Bhushan said.
On Wednesday, Justice C Hari Shankar recused himself from hearing the case as he has appeared for some of the firms named in the petition in the past.

The counsel appearing for the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, said the government is opposing even the issuance of notice in the petition as it would “jeopardise the entire power sector.”
The high court will now hear the case on September 20.
According to the DRI, overvaluation of power equipment and coal has the effect of artificially raising the tariff values fixed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission or the respective state regulatory commissions.
The DRI has alleged that several traders are directly importing Indonesian coal but the invoices are “routed through one or more related /associated intermediary firms based abroad” after artificially inflating its value. To justify the inflated price, “manipulated test reports” of the quality of coal is submitted to PSUs and Customs. This coal is then supplied to public power generation firms at the “artificially inflated import price and the inflated price is remitted from India to the intermediary firms abroad which remit only the actual price to the suppliers of the coal and the balance is siphoned off elsewhere”.
Riaz Haq said…
New #UK #property law could spell doom for #Pakistan politicians. #NawazSharif #MaryamNawaz #PanamaPapers #London #Corruption

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/europe/new-uk-property-law-could-spell-doom-for-pak-politicians201802051452480001/

London [UK], Feb 5 (ANI): The United Kingdom Government has introduced new rules which gives the law enforcement officers sweeping powers to usurp assets and properties that have been accrued through "dirty money."

The new rules have been designed to stop corrupt people from using the UK as a safe haven to amass unaccounted wealth. Individuals can be fined and jailed if they make misleading statements.

British authorities have the right to freeze and recover properties of more than 50,000 pounds if individuals cannot give a genuine explanation on the source of the property and legal proof showing that they have acquired the property legally, The Dawn reported.

The UWO (Unexplained Wealth Order) that initially came into force on February 1, looked to target Russian businessmen and industrialists having assets in the UK. However, the new property law could, however, spell the same trouble for some Pakistani politicians.

Another issue that goes against Pakistani politicians is "the lower threshold as a UWO made in relation to a non-EEA [European Economic Area] PEP [Politically Exposed Person] would not require suspicion of serious criminality".

London-based anti-corruption group, Transparency International (TI) said that it has identified properties worth 4.4 billion pounds in the UK that can be taken up in the new legislation.

It has already prepared a list of five cases and feels that the investigation would not be delayed for long. This also includes the Avenfield House flats case, involving former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Suspecting Sharif as the owner of four Avenfield House flats worth eight million pounds, TI said in a statement, "The Land Registry documents showing the four properties are owned by two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands- Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Limited.

"According to information published as part of Panama Papers, these companies were controlled by the former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. In 2017, Pakistani authorities initiated an investigation into these assets, which found that they were purchased without a mortgage between 1993 and 1995, just after Sharif reported a growth in wealth without any plausible declared source of income. In July 2017, Sharif was removed from the office after the investigation found that he had failed to disclose these properties on his official asset declaration," added TI.

Igor Shuvalov, the Russian first deputy prime minister is the alleged owner of two flats worth 11.44 million pounds at 4 Whitehall Court in London.

Sharif is not the only politician to have links to a series properties in the UK.

Other media reports have mentioned that various Pakistani politicians have also purchased properties and amassed unaccounted wealth in the UK.

India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim has been reportedly linked to a series of properties across the United Kingdom, according to a UK media report.

The UK newspaper compared the details from documents prepared by Indian authorities related to the records held by UK's Companies House, Land Registry and the Panama Papers.

The documents also alleged that Ibrahim's right-hand man, Muhammed Iqbal "Mirchi" Memon, amassed huge properties in the UK, such as hotels, mansions, and houses in South-East England.

Memon held at least 11 company directorships in tiling, construction and lettings firms in the UK before he died in 2013 after suffering a heart attack. He had consistently denied his involvement in Ibrahim's cartel.

Memon, also a suspect in the 1993 Mumbai attacks, had sought refuge in London after the blasts and attempts to extradite him to India had failed. He sought refuge in London after the 1993 Mumbai attacks. India has tried to extradite him but in vain.
Riaz Haq said…
India is one of the world’s most unequal countries: James Crabtree
In an interview with Mint, journalist and author James Crabtree talks about the rapid rise of India’s ultra-rich and the crony capitalism and inequality that have accompanied such concentration of wealth


https://www.livemint.com/Companies/FeRwRFEQJu8mKx7wcVN5FL/India-is-one-of-the-worlds-most-unequal-countries-James-Cr.html

Do you see inequality—as distinct from corruption—as an electoral issue?

I don’t. But if you consider what inequality means—which is access to opportunities for advancement, the chances of your kids getting into a decent school, the quality of public services, social insurance if you get sick, these things very much matter. They are the meat and drink of Indian politics—for instance, former AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa saying she will give you a free stove or free gas or cancel your farm loans. So while inequality might be an abstract concept, there are plenty of aspects of it that matter at the ballot box.

Both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, former DMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister, oversaw corrupt administrations in Tamil Nadu. But the state’s development indicators also did very well under them, which goes against conventional wisdom. It seems to tie into what you quote political scientist Samuel Huntington saying in your book about the strategic use of corruption to lubricate growth.

Andhra Pradesh as well. It’s a toss-up, which of them is more corrupt. Strategic corruption. Can you use it as East Asia did? Can you allow people to cream a bit off the top if they do what you want them to do, and the thing you want them to do is good? Namely, making sure kids have school meals or building irrigation projects.

Some southern states have been much better than the northern ones in this respect. They’re corrupt but they don’t take everything; it isn’t a looting. The principle is, they’ll take their 5% and the job will be done in a reasonable way. So there is perhaps a theoretical case that India could do with more corruption rather than less.

But the research is fairly clear that this sort of strategic corruption works best in autocratic regimes. You could say that was true of Jayalalithaa, she certainly governed in autocratic fashion. It’s very difficult to imagine using corruption to get the wheels turning again in other parts of the country, though. Besides, corruption is a function of growth. Part of the reason there has been so little corruption in India over the past five years is that they haven’t been building anything. All the growth has come from consumption and public spending. The proof of Modi’s corruption record is really going to come only when the next boom happens.

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