Serious levels of corruption in the public sector plague more than two-thirds of the world's nations and are undermining attempts to eradicate poverty, Transparency International said Tuesday. Bangladesh and Chad topped the global watchdog's annual list of corruption levels in 159 countries. At the other end of the scale, Iceland was the least corrupt country.
Berlin-based Transparency International said more than two-thirds of the 159 nations on the list scored less than five out of 10, indicating serious levels of corruption.
To form its annual corruption index, Transparency International asks business workers, academics and public officials about how countries they live in or do business with are perceived.
Bangladesh and Chad both scored 1.7 percent, while the least corrupt country, Iceland, scored 9.7 percent.
Turkmenistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, the Ivory Coast and Angola joined Chad and Bangladesh as the most corrupt countries, the report said.
After Iceland, the least corrupt were Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Australia and Austria, the AP reports.
The watchdog said increases in perceived corruption from last year's survey were recorded in Costa Rica, Gabon, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.
Decreases were found in Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar, Taiwan and Turkey.
Many of the 10 countries - most of them in post-communist Eastern Europe - that joined the European Union in May 2004 and those involved in the EU accession process have also shown improvements in corruption, indicating sweeping reforms and a new emphasis on making public institutions more transparent, the group said. A.M.