Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan among world’s most corrupt — watchdog

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BISHKEK (TCA) — In its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released on January 27, Transparency International ranked 168 countries based on perceived levels of public-sector corruption. The most corrupt countries in Central Asia, according to the index, were Afghanistan (ranked 166th), Turkmenistan (156th), and Uzbekistan (153rd).

Tajikistan was ranked 136th, while Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan were seen as equally corrupt and listed 123rd on the index.

“All five countries of Central Asia are…at the bottom of the CPI table,” Svetlana Savitskaya, Transparency International’s regional coordinator for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Europe and Central Asia, told RFE/RL.

“[The low score] is a signal that corruption is endemic, it is deeply ingrained, and it has a systemic nature [in Central Asia],” she said.

Savitskaya said there have been no big changes or improvement in corruption levels in any of the Central Asian countries since 2012, saying the situation is one of “stagnation all over the region.”

She said the situation is similar in several other former Soviet republics such as Russia (119th), Ukraine (130th), Moldova (103rd), Armenia (95th), and Azerbaijan (119th).

Savitskaya said Transparency International has not seen any positive changes in Russia in recent years, even though the government has declared that it is trying to fight corruption.

“[Russian authorities] continue to limit space for civil society; they continue to press nongovernmental organizations – including [Transparency International – Russia]; to exert pressure on investigative journalists, on independent media,” she said.

According to the index, Denmark edged out Finland to win the title as the least corrupt country in the world and Somalia and North Korea were named the most corrupt.

Sergey Kwan

TCA