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Egypt slips in corruption index despite Arab Spring: Transparency International

Dec 05 2012, 12:51 IST
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Summary'Arab Spring' revolutions have yet to produce serious anti-graft action, TI said

Egypt has slid in a global league table of perceived official corruption in the past year, and the "Arab Spring" revolutions have yet to produce serious anti-graft action across the region, Transparency International said on Wednesday.

In its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the anti-graft organisation said Egypt had fallen six places to 118th out of 176 countries as levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings remain high in the Arab world's most populous nation.

"We know that frustration about corruption brought people out onto the streets in the Arab world," Christoph Wilcke, Transparency International director for the Middle East and North Africa, said.

"We've observed that in countries where substantial change occurred they're still struggling to put in place new systems of governance. That's reflected in these scores. The hope hasn't materialised yet in more serious anti-corruption programmes."

The public sector league table from the Berlin-based group - on which the higher the ranking, the cleaner a country is - produced a mixed picture for nations swept up in last year's unrest.

Tunisia slipped two places to 75th while Morocco, which experienced less turmoil, fell eight spots to 88th. Syria, which is engulfed in a civil war, tumbled 15 places to 144th but Libya managed an improvement from a very low base, rising to 160th from 168th.

Overall, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were in a first-place tie with scores of 90 on a new scale where 100 stands for most clean and 0 for most corrupt. Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan shared last place.

Egypt was in a five-way tie with the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia and Madagascar with a score of 32.

Islamist Mohamed Mursi became Egypt's first freely-elected president in June this year after a period of direct military rule following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak last February.

Corruption ranging from the petty to the grand scale was one of the main grievances that toppled Mubarak. However, hopes that the problem would ease remain far away as people waiting for paperwork complain that low-level graft has become even worse since the uprising because of lax law enforcement.

Mursi has talked of sweeping out corrupt elements in the state and among those doing business with the government.

However, many businesses have been rattled by his remarks, fearing it will mean replacing one elite with another or challenging deals that were agreed in good faith by investors with Mubarak's government.

However, some executives say there are

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