Public finds Parliament “most corrupt” institution: Transparency International

A new report published by Transparency International finds that 90 percent of surveyed Maldivians believe that “corruption has increased” or remained level in the last three years, while they dubbed the parliament as the “most corrupt” institution.

The “Daily Lives and Corruption: Public Opinion in Maldives” report surveyed 1001 people in the Maldives between April 23 and April 29 of 2011 to capture public perception of corruption in the country. The survey was conducted by Gallup Pakistan of Gallup International, a leading polling service.

The report revealed that over half of the people interviewed (56 percent) believe the level of corruption in Maldives has increased over the past three years, while another 34 percent believed it remained the same. Only ten percent said corruption levels declined.

When people were asked to rate the extent of corruption in nine different institutions on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “not at all corrupt” and 5 meaning “extremely corrupt”, 55.9 percent of responders claimed 77 seat People’s Majilis (Parliament) is “extremely corrupt” – suggesting that the public perceive the elected legislative body as among the most corrupt institutions in the country.

Meanwhile, 55.4 percent of respondents viewed political parties as “extremely corrupt”. The judiciary received a similar ranking from 39.4 percent of individuals polled.

Military and religious groups were considered the least corrupt institutions.

In addition to measuring public perception, the report also evaluated the prevalence of bribes in the civil sector. According to its findings, six percent of responders claimed to have paid a bribe to one of the nine service providers over the past 12 months. The most bribes were paid to Customs, while the fewest were paid to the Police.

Bribes were reportedly paid to either accelerate procedures or minimise conflicts at institutions which provide land services, registry and permit services, utilities, education, and medical services.

Transparency officials point out that although the government or executive was not classified as an individual institution at the time of polling, the services for which people paid bribes are government components.

Most bribes were paid by men (8 percent) with women paying fewer than half that amount (3 percent). All bribes were paid by people of low income, the report reveals.

Speaking at the report release ceremony held on Thursday at Traders, Senior Program Coordinator at Transparency International Rukshana Neenayakkara pointed out that it is significant that 90 percent of Maldivians believe that the presence of corruption has increased or remained unchanged over the past three years.

Referring to the high perception of corruption within the parliament and judiciary, Neenayakkara said the figures reflect a “dismal drastic situation” of grand corruption in Maldives, which can create a “worse situation” in the coming years. “So we need action now”, he asserted.

According to Neenayakkara petty corruption is uncommon in Maldives though it is endemic in other  South Asian countries which were similarly surveyed.

Project Coordinator for Transparency Maldives Aiman Rasheed explained that “grand corruption” which spread across the judiciary, parliament and members of the executive is “more dangerous” compared to the petty cash corruption, and stressed on the need to address the problem through systematic change.

Faced with such endemic and high-level corruption, it is “up to the people of the Maldives to demand better governance”, he insisted.

The Maldives rose slightly to rank 134 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), released in December 2011.

The country scored 2.5 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), placing it alongside Lebanon, Pakistan and Sierra Leone.

The score however is a mild improvement on 2010, when the Maldives was ranked 143th and below Zimbabwe. The Maldives still rated as having higher perceived corruption than many regional neighbours, including Sri Lanka (86), Bangladesh (120) and India (95).

Speaking with Minivan News in December, Rasheed said it was “up to the people of the Maldives to demand better governance”, and noted that the nation’s ability to address corruption would have political ramifications for the 2013 presidential election, particularly for young voters.

The “Daily Lives of Corruption” report concludes that 93 percent of Maldivians think that “ordinary people can make difference in the fight against corruption”.

Other countries surveyed were Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.

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33 thoughts on “Public finds Parliament “most corrupt” institution: Transparency International”

  1. Yes corruption is a very dangerous weapon. I believe we have corruption in the three powers

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  2. Well Well.. We shouldn't be surprised with these results. Cuorruption has rather increased under the present government. Shame!

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  3. Parliamentarians are reflecting the common people.

    If they are corrupt, it really means the people are corrupt or corruptible, just not having a chance before.

    By extension, adhaalath is very right in trying to limit access of bars and massage parlours to Maldivians. The moment they have half a chance, they will be queuing to get the services.

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  4. This is a poll - a perception survey. However, it is presented as if it were based on FACTS which it is not. Ain't that a bit misleading, given that our public may not realise the difference, and the surveyors and conveniently left this vital piece of information under the rug?

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  5. DURING LAST 30 YEARS IT WAS DAY LIGHT ROBBERY IN FRONT OF A BLIND PUBLIC.

    ANTI CORRUPTION COMMISSION WAS AN EMPTY SHELL OF AN INSTITUTION DURING GAYOOMS REGIME. ONLY IN THIS GOVERNMENT DID IT START TO FUNCTION AND CREATE NEWS HEADLINES.

    WHAT TRANSPARENCY SHOULD HAVE TESTED FIRST IS HOW MUCH PEOPLE ARE "AWARE" OF CORRUPTION BEFORE AND NOW.

    WITHOUT ANY AWARENESS BEFORE, HOW CAN PEOPLE PASS A TRANSPARENT AND TRUE JUDGEMENT NOW.

    THE PARLIAMENT, JUDICIARY AND EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS BEFORE WAS CONTROLLED BY GAYOOMS, HIS ALLIES AND RELATIVES.

    HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE RICHES THEY HAVE AMASSED? THEIR HUMBLE CIVIL SERVANT SALARY?

    TAKE A TOTAL SUM OF ALL THE REAL ESTATE, RESORT DEALS AND INFLUENCED CONTRACTS THAT GAYOOM, HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES AND ALLIES HAVE AMASSED OVER 30 YEARS, HOW CAN MDP CATCH UP IN ONLY 3 YEARS.

    HOW DUMB IS THIS REPORT. STOP PUBLISHING SUCH ILL THOUGHT THROUGH SURVEYS TRANSPARENCY. YOU ARE NOW BECOMING OPAQUE!

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  6. This is not a surprise. This should not be a surprise to anyone. The Parliament has shown time and time again that they are willing to put their own interests before those of the nation!

    In most countries there are safeguards so that Parliamentarians cannot affect their own salary or allowance, but rather only the salaries of next Parliament. The same way the President's and Vice President's salaries cannot be increased for the current head of state - instead a salary increase can only be implemented after the next election.

    Our Parliamentarians have no perception of what is corrupt and what is not. They sell their votes openly, sell their allegiance openly, bribe officials openly, influence bids for their businesses openly, and accuse each other of corruption to throw attention off themselves!

    This is not news. But everything that is collected to prove their corruptions will be used in the 2014 Parliamentary Election. Lets just hope that the people of our nation have the wisdom to realize how detrimental it is to the nation to elect people who don't give a damn about our nation.

    There are so many people whom I had tremendous faith in. Whom I believed - by reputation - would protect the people first and foremost. But corrupt practices are so deeply rooted within the Majlis' hallowed halls, that it will take time to root it out. To create a new standard of leadership among our political leaders. I pray we will get there soon.

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  7. To reduce corruption, we should change the mind-set of the Maldivian people; especially the leaders, and the relatively wel-educated people.

    The religious teaching that is given in schools do not pay enough attention to humanitarian values like honesty, sincerity and truthfulness.

    Politicians are probably the worst.

    The Police and the Army the best.

    Customs officers may be very corrupt.

    Adults do not set a good example to young children and young people.

    People do not have a clear idea about what is right and what is wrong.

    The Animal Farm story of George Orwell must be made compulsory reading for all high school students and members of parliament.

    A written examination on the Animal Farm book must be made compulsory for all presidential candidates and all cabinet ministers.

    Top leaders in the Maldives have always been totally corrupt, as far as I can remember.

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  8. Not having Executive Government as an institution to rate raises one's suspicion if this survey itself is corrupt...

    But largely, this just confirms what we know for sure...

    At the same time, what this survey did not consider is that how many ordinary Maldivian have been involved in corruption (and therefore are corrupt)over the last three years. It will be close to 100% since either you were actively "campaigning for a politician" who distributed money to their constituents OR you just received the said money from the campaign.

    How do you fix corruption when 100% of the people are corrupt...?

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  9. This doesn't come as a surprise. Parliamentarians got to their seats by corruption and nepotism! They've since consolidated their hold on every aspect of political life.

    How many Maldivians have the power to pay their own salary? Yes, that's right, if you're are running your own firm, then you can do that. So our Parliamentarians are all CEOs of a firm called Parliament of Maldives Limited. Unlike a normal firm, they DEMAND money from the public coffers. No one can deny them their money! Lovely jubbly! I really need to get to one of those seats by whatever means possible. Where do I start?

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  10. Oh, yeah, the buggers have gone on holiday for 3 months! For fcuks sake, this is absolutely ridiculous. The b"£$%^*s are the best paid lot in the country and are now found to be the most corrupt as well.

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  11. Now I believe this is a nation of extremely hungry civil servants .. If you can feed them you cannot get them to do anything . It's like the circus monkeys or tigers, they should get a treat for everything that's done . They enjoy this .. I love this nation ..

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  12. Generally the public is corrupted in Maldives. For instance the public demand money in return for their vote. I have seen this happening in Gaafu Dhaal atoll during last parliamentary election.

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  13. We need t establish an Independent National Accountability Bureau in this country to fight and elimine corruption. Apart from the developed countries, nations like Malaysia, Turkey and now even China did so and look where they have reached. The Bureau must have the authority and power to crack down anyone suspection corrupt person ranging from the ordinary citizen to the head of the state. They should have the power to bring justice and fair investigation independent form the power and influence from Police, Courts, Politicians and the government. Only then corruption can be removed from this government.

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  14. @Ziayn

    "We need t establish an Independent National Accountability Bureau..."

    How would that differ from the existing Anti-Corruption Commission which is exactly setup for the purpose you mentioned. Despite that corruption is increasing.

    We have "independent" institutions coming out of our ears! All these bodies just suck up money like sponges that soak water. These things may work in Malaysia, Turkey etc where the people are educated to a much higher standard than here.

    The moral, ethical and educational standard of the ordinay Maldivian is the biggest hazard to a democratic Maldives.

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  15. @Michael Fahmy

    Animal Farm should not be just made compulsory reading for high school students but it should be translated to Dhivehi and talked about. Not just Orwell but other books that enrich thinking. All the great novels of literature and books of science and philosophy and the arts should be translated so people can read them on their own if they choose to.

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  16. Maldives will remain a very corrupted society until we can stop these "politicians' of PPM. For 30 years they bribed the people for their loyalty and during the last election they opened the coffers of the government to get elected but they lost. They have no idea how to come to power without buying votes. Unless we wipe these vultures, we are not going to stop corruption or drugs in the country

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  17. Transparency Maldives is headed by Aiman Rasheed, who is the younger brother of Zaheena Rasheed, who was and still probably is an MDP activist and a darling of the elite including current President Mohamed Nasheed.

    Mariyath who also works in Transparency is the younger sister of Deputy Home Minister and former Presidential appointee to the Judicial Service Commission, Aishath Velezinee.

    One of the founders of TM is Ahmed Inaz who earlier held the Cabinet portfolio of Finance Minister in Nasheed's administration. Inaz is still an MDP member.

    It is not the fact that these individuals are employed in an institution that casts doubt on the institution's credibility, however it is their convergence and collusion in one institution that renders the whole institution open to influence.

    Meanwhile, the report does mention that it is a perception survey and that it was conducted among a small sample of volunteers. Not a very credible report all in all but bound to make headlines due to Transparency Maldives affiliation with a respected international body such as TI.

    Also, as one commenter has pointed out, the deliberate exclusion of the executive from this survey makes TM's bias obvious. Also, TM deliberately ignored the persistence of government-control over the widely watched broadcaster in the Maldives in its report on media bias. Having a government-controlled media in a country that aspires to be a democracy is a farce.

    I am sorry TM, this would seem petty but just about every NGO and especially the well-funded ones who claim to work in governance and human-rights related fields are just fronts to further a specific party's political agenda.

    No thanks for your report. It just further politicizes the nation and fails to address real systemic issues.

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  18. We know and we don't care. What we care about is destroying monuments. It's pretty clear.

    We will not go out and pull the corrupt members out of the Majilis, but we will organize protests against some dudes in some country we can't even spot on the map.

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  19. peace on Fri, 6th Jan 2012 8:33 PM has made a very good point about enriching our native Dhivehi language by doing regular translations of great scientific and philosophical works etc published in other languages.

    She/he has also called for discussions of these authors and books in our Maldivian society.

    I totally agree with these two points.

    In Gayoom's time, there was a very active Centre for Linguistic and Historical Research, but even they did not engage in these types of activities, perhaps because their leaders and subordinate staff lacked the necessary knowledge and will.

    I have read that Arab and Muslim countries are very poor in doing translations from foreign languages. Because of that, Arab and Muslim societies remain isolated, insular and ignorant.

    As you know, Maldives is a Muslim country; and Maldivians have prejudices that other Muslim countries have; and that causes intellectual and international ignorance and backwardness in Maldives.

    Maldives, and Male lack good libraries; and I have not heard of any cultural activities like discussion groups in the country.

    Thank you for your comment. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

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  20. @peace
    'if they choose to'. This is where it all begins to go horribly wrong. We cannot choose. What if I want to read the bible to find out what's really in it? I get locked up! I am supposed to believe what's in the Bible because some mullah says so.

    People of the book they say!

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  21. @tsk tsk

    Good profile/background on Transparency Maldives. However the research seem to have been done by Transparency International and Gallup. Can you please profile them for the readers?

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  22. What happened? Was the Muizzu clan able to prevent the whole impending disaster?

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  23. @ Michael Fahmy

    The education system and the lack of translated knowledge is what cripples the minds of us so that most of us are what we have become today - the unthinking, mindless, intolerant, corruptible mass. I also think this is a way to exploit and suppress the poor, the ignorant and the powerless, keeping them voiceless and subservient and in dire need - proven method to ensure great authority over an easy-to-govern populace. And then to die in vain.

    @Abdul
    We cannot choose because people with authority would rather keep us low and needy so that we remain ignorant and deep in the bogs and accept whatever that is fed to us for easy manipulation of private and narcissistic agenda.

    Has no one commenting here been through the local education system? I believe we should invite good scientists and professors in the arts to give guest talks for some intellectual stimulation for students and the public. They have brought guest lecturers like Dr. Bilal Phillips and Dr. Green to address the students and the public so why not doctors of physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, literature, economics, psychology, sociology? They should be allowed to address the public and students too.

    All these should be translated too so even the average person can read and learn and be more aware of general knowledge.

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  24. Oh, and even at the MCHE (Maldives National University now)graduation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor who gave away the certificates and prizes would not shake the hands of females. When the Vice Chancellor was giving prizes to little children, being the guest of honour, he wouldn't shake the little girls hands when they reach their hands to shake his. The boys of course were spared of this humiliation. Education, knowledge and respect, especially in the schools should be fair and equal to both sexes.

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  25. Parliamentary corruption is evident in the fact that the MP's are allowed to draw salary for work they don't do; for days they don't attend full sittings or even sessions. Spending the taxpayer's money so is unfair and unjust. Every single laari spent out of public money should be for value it is worth.

    Parliament is so corrupt that they fix their salary; they make the rules they should follow but violate them; they could make laws requiring the government set up a Pay Commission to oversee payment of salaries and allowances of MP's and other senior officials; but they wouldn't because it is not in their favour.

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  26. It is no surprise corruption in every level is deep rooted. Maldives has every media that is required to flourish corruption. Poverty, ignorance, backwardness, and anything that you can think of is the foundation of this corrupted people in the world. Ethics, morality, consciences is words even they don’t have in their vocabulary. All of this MPS are product of this very much uncivilized society. These subhuman’s only goal and ambition is go to prostitution, drink, womanize and call Allah Akbar and visit Makah to wash the sins. And have egoism that they are the best people in the world after worshiping Blackstone. And mock Hindus for worshiping idols. They have no idea what Kabathu Allah means and what it holds in side when they go there and kiss the Blackstone. Kabathu Allah means the “House of Allah” so who resides in this House? It is the black stone, who is Allah than? These morons lack every human quality that even can’t make such a simple logic and are proud of being the best people. So we don’t expect from these zombies anything better, we are happy as long as Anni is there to give us freedom for blasphemy.

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  27. Too much democrasy is blessed with corruptors.
    Ministers spend millions during election periods and once elected they are all out to recover their RETURNS ON INVESTMENTS.

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  28. @ Salim Waheed
    What about the private deals and negotiations that took place in Vice President's residence to obtain islands awarded to the transportation project and attempts made to sell them to an American investor?? Would that tantamount to corruption??? Salim Waheed you go get a life, before you start preaching the values of good governance!!

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  29. I agree with the perception of the surveyed. Our parliaments seems to be the most corrupt and unethical institution even when compared to judiciary and government institutions such as customs. It is interesting to find that 6% claims to have bribed authorities and most bribing to customs officers.

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