Going by the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index for 2019, Bhutan has not made much progress in tackling corruption last year because it stayed in the same position as 2018.
TI released its report yesterday and ranked Bhutan 25th out of 180 countries or territories with a score of 68. The average score is 43. In 2017, Bhutan was in 26th place.
The report stated that Western Europe and European Union region scored highest and Sub-Saharan Africa region the lowest.
It stated that the CPI 2019 showed corruption was more pervasive in countries where huge money could flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
It also reveals that a staggering number of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption. “Our analysis also suggests that reducing huge money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curb corruption,” the report stated.
It stated that fraud which occurs at the highest levels of government to petty bribery that blocks access to basic public services such as health care and education, citizens are fed up with corrupt leaders and institutions. “This frustration fuels a growing lack of trust in government and further erodes public confidence in political leaders, elected officials and democracy.”
According to the report, the current state of corruption demand a need for greater political integrity in many countries. “To have any chance of curbing corruption, governments must strengthen checks and balances, limit the influence of big money in politics and ensure broad input in political decision-making. Public policies and resources should not be determined by economic power or political influence, but by fair consultation and impartial budget allocation.”
The report recommends that for democracy to be effective against corruption, governments must ensure that elections are free and fair.
Governments must promote the separation of powers, strengthen judicial independence and preserve checks and balances.
Preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns are essential to rebuilding trust in government and ensuring that citizens can use their vote to punish corrupt politicians.
To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems.
Governments should protect civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of speech, expression and association.
Governments should engage civil society and protect citizens, activists, whistleblowers and journalists in monitoring and exposing corruption.
In order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, governments should improve and properly enforce campaign finance regulations. Political parties should also disclose their sources of income, assets and loans, and governments should empower oversight agencies with stronger mandates and appropriate resources.
Governments should promote open and meaningful access to decision-making and consult a wider range of groups, beyond well-resourced lobbyists and a few private interests. Lobbying activities should be public and easily accessible.
Governments should create mechanisms to ensure that service delivery and public resource allocation are not driven by personal connections or are biased towards special interest groups at the expense of the overall public good.
It should reinforce checks and balances, strengthen electoral integrity, empower citizens and control political financing.