The Republic of Cyprus was at a historic low in terms of perceived levels of corruption in the public sector, according to figures released this week by Transparency International.
According to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released on Tuesday by Transparency International, corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86 per cent of countries including Cyprus making little to no progress in the last ten years.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption from zero or highly corrupt to 100 or very clean.
Cyprus was among a dozen countries that were at historic lows, with the island nation scoring 53 while a graph showing annual figures suggested the score started sliding downwards in 2013.
The chairwoman spoke of authoritarian approaches that 'destroy independent checks and balances and make anti-corruption efforts dependent on the whims of an elite'
Transparency International chairwoman Delia Ferreira Rubio spoke of authoritarian approaches that “destroy independent checks and balances and make anti-corruption efforts dependent on the whims of an elite.”
“Ensuring people can speak freely and work collectively to hold power to account is the only sustainable route to a corruption-free society,” Rubio said.
The CPI measures corruption in the public sector by looking at data sources regarding bribery, diversion of public funds, and officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences.
Excessive red tape in the public sector is also seen as a factor that can increase opportunities for corruption, while nepotistic appointments in the civil service are also thrown in the equation.
Other sources affecting the score include data on laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest, legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption, and access to information on public affairs or government activities.
Last week Cypriot lawmakers passed a consolidated bill on whistleblowing protections after years of delays and EU pressure, with the new law aimed to shield employees from retaliation after speaking up against corruption.
Cypriot officials have previously pointed to cultural factors that failed to encourage citizens to do the right thing, suggesting it was difficult to root out corruption on the island because of the country’s closed society where snitching was not part of Cypriot culture.
The top countries on the index were Denmark and Finland while the bottom of the barrel included Somalia and Syria.
Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index has become the leading global indicator of public sector, using data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk and consulting companies, think tanks and others.