The Maldives has risen slightly to rank 134 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
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).
Project Director of Transparency Maldives, Aiman Rasheed, warned that the ranking could not be compared year-to-year, especially in the Maldives where there were only a three sources used to determine the index (India has six).
“Corruption in the Maldives is grand corruption, unlike neighbouring countries where much of it is petty corruption,” Rasheed said. “In the Maldives there is corruption across the judiciary, parliament and members of the executive, all of it interlinked, and a systemic failure of the systems in place to address this. That why we score so low.”
Faced with such endemic and high-level corruption, it was “up to the people of the Maldives to demand better governance”, he said.
Addressing corruption would have political ramifications for the 2013 presidential election, Rasheed agreed, especially for young voters – 40 percent of the population is aged 15-24, resulting in thousands of new youth voters every year.
“Young people are hugely disillusioned by corruption in the Maldives. They have a vision of the type of country they would like to live in,” he said.
New Zealand, Denmark and Finland ranked as having the least perceived corruption, while North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan and Burma ranked last.