How Transparency Can Uncover Corruption on a National Level

Public corruption is an international problem, but Transparency International truly brings the issue to light with its Corruption Perception Index. The issue of public corruption varies a lot between countries, depending on how strict a country’s laws are and how susceptible its officials are to bribery and other types of corruption.

What Does Transparency International Do?

With branches in more than 100 countries, Transparency International strives to give a voice to citizens and empower people to speak out against corruption. Through tools like the Corruption Perception Index, they aim to stop bribery, secret deals, and officials’ abuse of power.

The Corruption Perception Index

The Corruption Perception Index looks at 180 different countries and rates their level of public sector corruption. The scale runs from 0 (very corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Scores vary widely; the United States had a score of 71 in 2018, and China received a score of 39. Venezuela, a company inflamed by political strife, received a score of 18. Overall, the average score is 43.

Shockingly, two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on the Corruption Perception Index, indicating that public corruption is a bigger issue than most people know.

What This Means for Governments and Government Agencies

Corruption poses a serious threat to any country in which it is allowed to continue unchecked. Public sector corruption undermines the rights of citizens and weakens institutions that are designed to uphold democracy and protect residents.

Countries have taken a number of actions to fight corruption and uphold their ideals. Some municipalities have passed anti-money laundering laws, laws requiring disclosure of public contracts, and laws supporting an independent judiciary.

Prosecution is key when corruption is involved. Holding public officials responsible for their choice to engage in bribery or other corrupt behaviors reinforces residents’ faith in the systems that protect them. Furthermore, it shows those who might be tempted to engage in corrupt behavior that they will be found out and they will be held accountable.

There are legal remedies available to governments and governmental agencies that are negatively impacted by corruption. They may file a civil action in a foreign jurisdiction and try to recover stolen assets. In many situations, getting retribution from a civil case is more effective and faster than seeking remedies through the criminal justice system. Proceedings that occur in a corrupt official’s home country are useless if the country’s judiciary system is also compromised, which is why it’s helpful for affected parties to seek relief in a different jurisdiction.

If your government or agency has been negatively impacted by corrupt officials, you have options. Contact a STARNet member now to find out how you may be able to trace, freeze, and recover stolen assets.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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