Latvia's corruption score improves, but ranking falls

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There was good news and bad news for Latvia January 25 with the publication of Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index.


Latvia was placed in 44th place out of 176 countries surveyed in the 2016 Corruption Perception Index, a drop of 4 places on 2015's 40th place.

However, the country's total score improved by 2 points (57 compared to 55 last year) suggesting some progress was made. The higher the number, the less the perceived corruption.

Unfortunately Latvia remains comfortably behind the other two Baltic states with Estonia in 22nd place and Lithuania in 38th place.

Estonia improved its ranking by one place, while Lithuania fell back an alarming 6 places. 

According to Delna, the Latvian branch of TI, the Latvian parliament or Saeima is regarded as the most corrupt institution, while 71% of Latvia's population regard the government's fight against corruption as "poor".

Delna offered a list of five things to improve the situation: First, adopting a whistleblower protection law; second, to prosecute high-profile corrupt officials and reduce the sense of impunity; third, the compilation of a register of true ultimate beneficiaries of businesses, and penalising money laundering properly; fourth, the continued digitization of public administration in order to make government more open; fifth, reforms of the healthcare system which is "currently is one of the most corrupt areas in Latvia."

Countries in Eastern Europe frequently have a situation in which "it is common to have MPs or local governors who are also business owners, without being questioned by the public, which perceives this as something normal. Companies, networks and individuals unduly influence laws and institutions to shape policies, the legal environment and the wider economy to their own interests," TI says.

"No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016... Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year's index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector. Top-scoring countries are far outnumbered by countries where citizens face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis," TI said in a summary of its report.

Denmark and New Zealand were adjudged jointly to be the least corrupt countries surveyed, with all the Nordic countries winning top-ten rankings.


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