The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has released the 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), globally ranking Liberia at 122, out of a total of 180 countries with a CPI score of 31.
The report is published by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. The German-based group says majority of countries in the world are making "little or no progress in ending corruption".
A CENTAL press statement issued Thursday, 22 February says Liberia’s CPI score is the second biggest decliner globally with minus six points from its CPI score in 2016 of 37 to 31 in 2017.
It furthers that the only country Liberia has outperformed in the sub - region is Guinea that scores 27, noting that all other countries [except Guinea] have better standing and rankings than Liberia, including Ghana with the score of 40 while Ivory Coast stands at 36.
CENTAL says it is deeply concerned about Liberia’s continuous underperformance, especially its position as the second worst decliner worldwide.
It points out that Liberia’s decline speaks to government’s inability to address entrenched culture of impunity and enforce existing laws and policies.
“Delayed investigation and prosecution of alleged corrupt officials, due to lack of political will, shielding of officials and appointment of relatives and cronies in key positions of trust, are seriously undermining the fight against corruption in the country,” CENTAL says.
It adds that though the result evaluates former President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf’s final year in office, it represents a challenge that President George Manneh Weah has to address during his administration.
CENTAL urges the new administration to take giant steps in addressing the culture of impunity, which it says is the main reason for Liberia’s declining performance.
The release says the Corruption Perception Index was established in 1995 and is used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries around the world.
CPI scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived by experts and business people.
The release detail that in 2017 CPI, 180 countries were targeted, four more that in 2016, with findings showing that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, as more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average global score of 43.
The report rank New Zealand and Denmark as the highest performers with scores of 89 and 88 respectively, while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14.12 and 9, respectively.
“The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. Meanwhile, the worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34). Although no country is free of corruption, the countries at the top share characteristics of open government, press freedom, civil liberties and independent judiciary, while countries at the bottom are characterized by widespread impunity for corruption, poor governance and weak institutions”, the report says.
It notes that in Africa, the best performers include Bostwana (61), Seychelles (60), Rwanda (55) and Cape Verde (55) respectively and adds that specifically in West Africa best performers include Senegal (45), Burkina Faso (42), Ghana (40), and Benin (39), respectively.
Meanwhile, to reverse the trend and improve Liberia’s standing in the region and globally, CENTAL, among others, is calling on President George Weah and his officials to declare and publish their assets as important first stop in promoting accountability and addressing corruption in government; commission a comprehensive audit of the past administration to ensure those who embezzled public resources are identified and prosecuted; scrupulously enforce existing anti-corruption laws and policies, including the Code of Conduct for public officials; and ensure safe and secure environment for the media, civil society and other advocates to thrive. Press Release