Maldives omitted from 2012 global corruption index due to “insufficient data”

The Maldives has been omitted from Transparency International’s global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2012 after it failed to receive required data from one of the three sources used to determine how it fares against other nations in terms of transparency.

The CPI ranks 176 nations in terms of their perceived corruption. States such as Denmark and Singapore rate at the top, while nations such as Zimbabwe and Somalia fall at the bottom of the index.

Last year the Maldives found itself placed 134 on the CPI, a slight improvement on 2010, despite continued fears of a “systemic failure to address corruption” by Transparency Maldives, the NGO’s local affiliate.

Transparency Maldives Project Director Aiman Rasheed told Minivan News that the Maldives’ failure to be included within the 2012 CPI “would raise a few eyebrows” internationally.

However Rasheed said that he did not expect there to be a significant detrimental impact in how the nation was already perceived by financiers, investors and other development groups.

“We have been included [on the CPI] for the last few years in 2011, 2010 and 2009, so I don’t think the ranking for this year will have been a big departure from these,” he said, adding that the challenges facing the country as a result of corruption still existed in 2012.

Rasheed said the CPI was a composite index based on information from a number of sources including the World Bank. He explained that of the three sources on which the Maldives’ CPI position was determined, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) had this year not supplied the required information needed by Transparency Maldives to compile its findings.

“We don’t have any reason for why this has happened and I would not wish to speculate,” he said.

However, a source with knowledge of the matter told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that there could be a number of reasons for the ADB failing to provide information on the Maldives.  These reasons were said to include a possible failure by the government over the last 12 months to provide statistics and figures to the ADB.

The ADB was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Questioned as to how the country’s omission from the 2012 index would reflect on Transparency Maldives’ own work, Project Director Rasheed said it would be vital to clearly communicate with international groups the reasons for not being included this year.

“It does present us with some challenges. We have to hope people understand that there was insufficient information received,” he said.

Transparency Maldives last year alleged that the Maldives continued to be rated as having more perceived corruption that many other neighbouring countries, a situation linked to what it claimed was a lack of accountability and transparency across the country’s judiciary, parliament and members of the executive. The NGO maintained that last December that there remained a “systemic failure” within the national mechanisms established to bring accountability to the branches of state.

Just last month, a senior legal official who served under the current and former administrations has claimed the country’s legal system is wide open to corruption by allowing individual judges to schedule court hearings at their whim.

The legal figure, who has been involved in some of the country’s highest profile cases heard in recent years, told Minivan News it was “quite evident” that the lack of a centralised system for scheduling legal hearings was not only resulting in massive inefficiency, but also allowing for corruption within the country’s court system.