Egypt has fallen in a global league table of perceived official corruption in the past year, and the Arab Spring revolutions have yet to produce serious anti-corruption action across the region, Transparency International (TI) says.
In its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, released on Wednesday, the Berlin-based group said Egypt had fallen six places to 118th out of 176 countries as levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings remain high in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
The public-sector league table – on which the higher the ranking, the cleaner a country is – produced a mixed picture for nations swept up in last year’s unrest.
Tunisia slipped two places to 75th while Morocco, which experienced less turmoil, fell eight spots to 88th.
Syria, which is engulfed in a civil war, dropped 15 places to 144th but Libya managed an improvement from a very low base, rising to 160th from 168th.
Egypt was in a five-way tie with the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia and Madagascar with a score of 32.
Greece has scored the worst ranking of all 27 European Union nations, falling below ex-communist Bulgaria as public anger about corruption soars at a time of crisis.
The index on state sector corruption also showed other struggling eurozone countries scoring poorly such as Italy which ranked below Romania.
Greeks have long complained about corruption but anger has soared, particularly about tax evasion among the rich, as the government has imposed wave after wave of austerity that the country’s international lenders have demanded.
The EU has kept Bulgaria and Romania out of its Schengen zone, which allows passport-free travel between member states, due to concerns about corruption.
A recent study showed Bulgarians gave about 150,000 bribes to civil servants every month last year, more than in 2010.
Portugal and Ireland, which like Greece have received eurozone rescues, were placed 33 and 25 respectively in the table.
TI said there was a stronger public recognition worldwide, including in big emerging BRIC economies such as China and Brazil, of the costs of corruption and a growing refusal to accept it as an inevitable fact of life.
Overall, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were in a first-place tie with scores of 90 on a new scale where 100 stands for most clean and 0 for most corrupt. Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan shared last place.
Among the major global economies, the US ranked 19, up from 24, Germany was at 13, up from 14, Japan and Britain tied for 17th place and France was at 22, up from 25 last year.
China meanwhile saw its ranking slip to 80 from 75 last year.