900 million people in the Asia Pacific have bribed officials - watchdog

The report is based on a survey conducted in 16 Asia Pacific countries.

In comparison, the 2013 report showed that then only 8% thought the corruption had decreased, 19% believed it stayed the same whereas 72% had thought that it had increased as against the year 2012.

The watchdog said, in China, almost three-quarters of the people surveyed said corruption had increased over the last three years, suggesting people did not see the government's major offensive on corruption was working.

The participants were asked how often, if ever, did they have to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favor for: a teacher or school official; a health worker or clinic or hospital staff; a government official in order to get the document, a government official in order to get the [Utilities] services; a police officer; a judge or court official.

The Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption movement working in over 100 countries, spoke to almost 22,000 people about their recent experiences with corruption for People and Corruption: Asia Pacific, part of the Global Corruption Barometer series.

Yet while poorer people were more likely to be targeted in countries like Thailand, India and Pakistan, the reverse trend was found in places like Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Sri Lanka is the second least-corrupt country in Asia Pacific in Transparency International survey Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 12:32 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka. Adding that the poorest people were hit worst with 38 per cent claiming to have paid a bribe - highest in any income category.

It called on governments to do more to root out corruption.

Transparency International advises that the next step is "that governments must keep promises to combat corruption, including their commitments to meet the Sustainable Development Goals".

"Legislatures (must) adopt and enforce comprehensive legislation to protect whistleblowers, based on prevailing global standards, including those developed by Transparency worldwide", the report said. But more than one in five said they felt powerless to help fight corruption. "Bribery is not a small crime, it takes food off the table, it prevents education, it impedes proper healthcare and ultimately it can kill", José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International said.

Transparency International suggested the following recommendations to reduce bribery in the Asia Pacific region.

"Authorities (must) prevent and sanction bribe-paying ... to end impunity related to bribery".

  • Arturo Norris