Survey Ranks Corrupt Nations; Nigeria Hits Bottom

By John S. McClenahen Of 90 nations around the world surveyed by Transparency International (TI), a Berlin-based international anticorruption watchdog group, Finland comes off as being freest of official bribery. In contrast, Nigeria is the most corrupt, virtually unchanged from its ranking a year ago and illustrating how difficult and time-consuming is the task of rooting out bribery and other forms of corruption. "Valiant efforts are being made by [Nigerian] President Olusegun Obasanjo to promote large-scale changes in a country whose people have been robbed by the grand corruption of their past leaders. But the process of change initiated by the new president is barely 12 months old," notes Peter Eigen, TI's chairman. "Nigeria must have debt relief and IMF [International Monetary Fund] and World Bank support, as well as international business support, to get its economy going again and set the conditions that will realistically make it possible to wage a sustained successful attack on the entrenched bastions of corruption." In TI's year 2000 ranking, the U.S. is 14th of 90 nations, Canada is 5th, the UK 10th, Germany 17th, France 21st, and Mexico 59th. Russia is tied with Kenya for 82nd, and Yugoslavia is only one position better than Nigeria at 89th.

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