Rwanda slipped three places on the index of least corrupt countries in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report by Transparency International from the 48th position last year to the 51st despite remaining the least corrupt country in the East African region and 4th on the continent.
Rwanda scored 53 percent on the 2019 index, maintaining 4th place in Africa but the country dropped three points compared to the 2018 index when it scored 56 percent, a decline which was attributed to emerging cases of covering up corruption incidences.
In the Eastern African region, Rwanda was followed by Tanzania which scored 37 percent, Kenya and Uganda scored 28 percent each, Burundi 19 percent while Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) scored 18 percent, with most of the countries in the region falling below the global average score of 43 percent and the Sub-Saharan average score of 32 percent on a scale of 100.
More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on a scale of 100 points in fighting corruption, with an average score of 43, shows.
According to a report released Thursday, most of the countries, including many of the world’s most advanced economies, are stagnating or showing signs of backsliding in their anti-corruption efforts.
During the release of the report on Thursday, which was done simultaneously across the globe, Transparency International-Rwanda Chapter attributed Rwanda’s decline on the CPI to a low score on the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index and a low grade in the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey (EOS).
The two reports contribute to the CPI ranking, among others which feed into the index. The decline in Rwanda’s ranking was also attributed to emerging cases where people are not efficiently reporting corruption cases.
During the release of the report, the Government Ombudsman Anastase Murekezi criticised Rwandans who don’t provide timely and accurate information on corruption cases, saying that it is the reason for the decline.
“It is a wakeup call for us. We cannot afford to lose track on this global fight. In whatever we do, we must be transparent, whether it is at the national or local governance levels. We cannot afford to fall back,” Murekezi said.
“We still have a small number of people willing to report corruption cases. They are not even at 20 percent. This does not support the efforts of the institutions which have upped the tempo in the fight against corruption. They rely on the information provided by the citizens,” Murekezi said.
The Ombudsman said that this must change if the fight against corruption has to yield results. He particularly pointed to challenges in the government tendering and procurement procedures as well as public and civil service recruitment where procedures are flouted but incidents not reported.
He said that over the last five years, government lost about Rwf7bn in corruption related cases. He cited incidents where contractors get tenders to infrastructure and other facilities for the government but do less than expected for higher amounts of money.
“We have set up complete anti-corruption legal and institutional framework due to the political will of Leaders. These measures include a new law on fighting against corruption and on money laundering,”
“The Government is not only committed to criminally punish corrupt people but also recover the illegally acquired assets. It also promotes the cooperation with other Countries in order to trace and recover those embezzled assets,” he said.
The Chairperson of Transparency International Rwanda Chapter Marie Immaculée Ingabire said that there is government and political will to fight corruption but it should yield results and show that indeed corruption cases are being dealt with.
“Why do we see the political will to fight corruption but we don’t see the results as they should be? What are the impediments? That is where the focus should be,” Ingabire said.
Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the Executive Director of TI-Rwanda said that the 2019 index calls for stronger anti-corruption efforts in the public sector to avert growing cases of corruption.
“There is also a need for businesses to show greater responsibility to promote integrity, accountability and the need for governments to eliminate undue influence,” Mupiganyi said, adding that it is important that bottlenecks that hindered Rwanda’s positive ranking were identified.
“We need to join our efforts and keep the momentum as we try to encourage citizens to report corruption more because this was identified as one of the barriers in the national fight against corruption
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Seychelles and Botswana are the least corrupt countries, scoring 66 percent and 61 percent respectively while in the region Ethiopia scored 37 percent and South Sudan 12 percent.
Globally, Denmark and New Zealand emerged the least corrupt countries on CPI 2019 with scores of 87 percent while Somalia, South Sudan and Syria were the most corrupt countries in the world.
Ranked behind South Sudan which scored 12 percent, Somalia scored 9 percent while war-ravaged Syria got 13 percent.
The 2019 CPI highlighted linkages between politics, conflict, money and corruption. The 2019 report also shows major differences between the highest and lowest performing countries, with majority of countries showing little to no improvement in tackling graft.
The CPI measures perceived levels of corruption in the public sector in countries and territories around the world based on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).