* Many leading arms-trading countries have weak controls
* Many countries give little information about defence
* Anti-corruption watchdog says survey is first of its kind
By Adrian Croft
BRUSSELS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - More than two-thirds of
countries, including many of the world's largest arms traders,
have inadequate safeguards to prevent corruption in their
defence sectors, a survey by an anti-corruption watchdog said on
Germany and Australia are the only countries out of 82
surveyed by Transparency International UK with strong
anti-corruption mechanisms, according to what the watchdog says
is the first index measuring how governments counter corruption
Fifty-seven of the countries, almost 70 percent, had poor
controls against corruption, according to the survey, which
rated governments by criteria such as the strength of
parliamentary oversight of defence policy and the standards
expected of defence firms.
The 82 countries surveyed account for 94 per cent of global
military expenditure in 2011, worth $1.6 trillion, while the
global cost of corruption in the defence sector is estimated to
be at least $20 billion a year, the watchdog said.
Mark Pyman, director of Transparency International UK's
Defence and Security Programme, said he hoped the survey would
lead governments to improve anti-corruption policies.
Corruption was dangerous, because troops "may well have
equipment that doesn't work", and it was wasteful, he said.
"Particularly at times of austerity, the idea that it is
somehow acceptable that there should be corruption in defence
because it has always been so is just an outrageous suggestion,"
he told Reuters.
Countries with poor anti-corruption controls included
two-thirds of the largest arms importers assessed in the survey
and half of the biggest arms exporters, Transparency
China, Russia and Israel, all leading arms exporters, were
considered to be at high risk of corruption in their defence
sectors. Among top arms importers, India, United Arab Emirates,
Singapore, Thailand and Turkey were in the high-risk category.
Nine countries - Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen - are
at "critical risk" of corruption in their defence sector,
lacking basic accountability measures, the survey said.
Countries classed as being at "very high risk" of corruption
include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Britain, Sweden and
South Korea were among countries judged to be at low risk, while
France, Spain, Italy and Poland were in the moderate-risk group.
The survey looked not only at the potential for corruption
in defence contracts, but also at the risk of abuse of defence
budgets and the risk of corruption in the armed forces.
Governments surveyed were given the chance to review
Transparency International's findings.
Pyman said a "shocking" result of the survey was that in
half of the countries surveyed, the defence budget was either
not public or it contained no breakdown of defence spending.
Only 12 percent of countries surveyed had "highly effective"
parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy and only a handful
protected whistleblowers who reported defence corruption.
Europe has been swept by a wave of high-profile cases of
alleged corruption in defence deals in recent years.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has been charged with
bribery over a now-abandoned 2006 deal to buy armoured vehicles.
He has denied wrongdoing.
European aerospace and defence group EADS, facing
investigations in Austria, Britain and Germany, has launched an
external review of its anti-corruption rules.
(Editing by Jon Hemming)