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Corruption rampant in defence sector globally: Watchdog

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 15:20 hrs

Moscow, Jan 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Two-thirds of the world's nations lack the tools to counter corruption in their defence sectors, says a survey by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

According to the first index measuring how governments fight graft in the defence sector, released by Transparency International UK's Defence and Security Programme, 70 percent of countries fail to protect the industry from corruption.

The survey covers 82 countries responsible for 94 percent (worth $1.6 trillion) of global military expenditure in 2011.

The watchdog's report concluded that the global cost of corruption in the defence sector is about $20 billion annually.

The index lists Russia, Belarus, China, Israel, Kazakhstan and Rwanda as states at "high risk" of corruption in the defence sector.

Nine countries -- Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen - are classified as states with a "critical risk" of corruption, for their lack of basic measures such as controls to enforce accountability.

The countries at "very high risk" of corruption include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.

Britain, South Korea, Sweden and the US are among countries considered to be at "low risk".

France, Poland, Italy and Spain are moderate-risk states. Australia and Germany are the only countries listed in the index as states with "strong anti-corruption mechanisms".

"Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful, and the cost is paid by citizens, soldiers, companies and governments, yet the majority of governments do too little to prevent it, leaving numerous opportunities to hide corruption from public scrutiny and waste money that could be better spent," Transparency International UK's Defence and Security Programme director Mark Pyman said.

In October 2012, Transparency International released a study of 129 global defence companies, which listed Russian defence firms and arms exporters as among the least transparent in the world.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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