Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Singapore least corrupt nation

SINGAPORE shared top spot with Denmark and New Zealand as the least corrupt nations in the world, in the latest annual ranking by non-governmental corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).

The ranking yesterday by the Berlin-based outfit saw Singapore move up from third place last year when Denmark was top and New Zealand second. In 2007 and 2008, Singapore was ranked as the world's fourth least-corrupt nation.

The latest ranking rates 178 countries and territories on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt) and draws on the results of 13 business and expert surveys conducted between January last year and September this year.

That Singapore remains one of the least corrupt nations is due in part to effective laws, said TI's head of private sector programmes Francois Valerian, who tracks corporate corruption. 'Singapore is perceived as a state which has made legislative efforts and enforcement of laws and regulations to fight and curb corruption in the public sector, administration and governmental spheres,' he said.

But he added that an estimated US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) obtained through illegal means flowed through major financial centres, including New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, annually. While he was not aware of specific instances of illicit financial flows through Singapore, he said Singapore and other territories have a responsibility to exchange information and investigate these flows.

Ms Juanita Riano, who oversees the ranking known as the Corruption Perceptions Index, said there was no change in the methodology when compiling this year's list. She added that the index measured perceptions of corruption and this 'doesn't mean that a country is corruption-free'.


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