Maldives sees no progress in Corruption Index rankings

Members of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) hold a press conference on April 5, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Maldives was ranked 85th, the same position as the year before, in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2022 released by Transparency International on Tuesday.

The CPI annually scores and ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived level of public sector corruption, drawing on surveys and expert assessments. The index uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.   

The CPI 2022 was released by Transparency International on Tuesday.  It shows the Maldives, with a score of 40, is ranked 85 out of 180 countries – marking no improvement in the country’s rank or score since 2021.

The country’s score was draw from the composite assessment of three international sources; Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, Varieties and Democracy Project ad World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment.

Maldives had scored 43 and ranked 75 in country position in the CPI 2020. 

The archipelago continues to be among two-thirds of countries to score below 50.                          

Transparency Maldives, in a statement following the publication of the ranking, said the data reflects the stagnation in implementing and enforcing the laws to tackle corruption. They detailed that the country has seen weak investigation, prosecution, enforcement, and implementation of laws resulting in increased lack of accountability of political and public officials.

Transparency Maldives said that corruption undermines political, social and economic stability – ultimately threatening peace, safety and security as a whole. They also noted that corruption creates a fertile ground for organized criminal activities and violent conflicts as criminals are aided in the illegal activities by the complicit of corrupt public officials.

Citing these reasons, they emphasized on the importance of overhauling a system that promotes corruption and protects the corruption and ensure a culture of transparency and accountability.

Transparency Maldives, in this regard, made recommendations to the Maldivian government on how to achieve this;

• Ensure obligations under United Nations Convention Against Corruptions (UNAC) are being met, strengthen preventive, monitoring, verification and enforcement mechanisms

• Hold political and public officials accountable by passing the bill on asset declaration drafted by Transparency Maldives in line with best practices to ensure a comprehensive asset declaration regime & verification mechanism

• Ensure informed and meaningful participation of public in decisions-making, by guaranteeing access to information and publishing relevant, easy, accessible, timely data, on corruption, public spending and resource distribution

• Strengthen capacity and resources of State Institutes to conduct full, transparent and timely investigation and prosecution. Oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources, and independence to perform their duties, free from intimidation and political influence

• Defend democracy and promote civic space by fully implementing laws, especially related to Human trafficking and Whistleblowing, thus, creating an enabling condition for human rights defenders to hold human rights abusers, including the government, accountable

Transparency Maldives, in their statement, also stressed their concerns regarding the highly politicized efforts to address corruption that result in lowering public trust in accountability mechanisms and the judicial process as preparations are underway for the 2023 presidential elections.

On this note, they underscored that efforts to address corruption must be timely, efficient and unbiased – reiterating their calls s to the government to end the culture of impunity for the corrupt, ensure allegations of corruption is investigated and addressed in order to ensure political figures accused of corruption is held to account and not rewarded with more power and privilege.