Report: Mideast most corrupt region in the world

Sunday, October 12, 2003

LONDON A study by the London-based Transparency International has found that the Middle East and North Africa form the most world's most corrupt region.

Twelve countries in the region were ranked among the most corrupt out of a rating of 133 nations.

The annual Corruption Perception Index reflects the perceptions of business people, academics and risk analysts. The statistical work was coordinated by Johann Lambsdorff at Germany's Passau University and advised by a group of international specialists, Middle East Newsline reported.

The most corrupt Middle East countries in the 2003 report were Libya at No. 118, Iraq under Saddam Hussein at 113, Sudan, 106, Algeria at 88.

Israel, at No. 21, was ranked as the least corrupt country in the Middle East. But Transparency International chairman Peter Eigen said Israel's corruption record was growing worse.

The index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. This ranges from misuse of public power for private benefit to bribery.

Oman was listed as the least corrupt country in the Arab world, rated 26. Bahrain followed at 32, Kuwait, 35, and the United Arab Emirates 37.

Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority were tied at No. 78, preceded by Turkey at 77. Egypt and Morocco were ranked at 70.

The Republic of Cyprus was ranked 27. Tunisia came in at 39 followed by Jordan at 43, Saudi Arabia at 46, and Syria at 66.

Greece's corruption record, ranked at No. 50, was regarded as particularly high for a European Union state.

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