New Zealand has once again been named the least corrupt nation in 2013, tied with Denmark for the top spot.
Transparency International, a graft and corruption watchdog, released the results of its survey with Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia identified as the most corrupt countries.
Almost 70 percent of the countries experience "serious problems" with the government officials. The Berlin-based organization said out of 177 countries, none had achieved a perfect score.
The Corruption Perception Index is the most widely used indicator of corruption in law enforcement agencies, political parties, justice system and civil service. Corruption hampers progress and undermines the fight against poverty, especially in developing countries.
Transparency International's Lead Researcher Finn Heinrich said the poor is the most affected by corruption. Among the nations that dropped the most in rankings are Somalia, Libya and Mali. These countries have experienced military conflict in the past few years.
New Zealand Warned Against Complacency
New Zealand has the highest score in the Corruption Perception Index, which means it is less tainted by corruption compared to other countries in the world. It is at the top along with Denmark getting the same score. Both countries have increased their scores from 90 in 2012 to 91 out of 100 in 2013. Countries closer to the 100 score are the least corrupt.
The local branch, Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), said New Zealand should not be complacent. The organization promised to release a more comprehensive report on the nation's vulnerability to corruption by next week.
TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively said New Zealand remains consistently at the top because of the Integrity Plus National Integrity System assessment. This takes a closer look at the Parliament, political parties, media, public service and the private sector.
According to TINZ, a July research showed that only 3 percent of New Zealanders had paid a bribe in the last year when transacting with public services. The figure is low compared to the global average of 27 percent.
Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle said the top performing countries like New Zealand only reveal how a transparent government supports accountability and deters corruption.
The Corruption Perception Index is based on the expert views of the World Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, African Development Bank, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House and other groups.
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