Bouwfraude tarnishes Holland's image

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — The long-running Bouwfraude or construction industry fraud in the Netherlands continues to damage the image of the Lowlands.

19 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — The long-running Bouwfraude or construction industry fraud in the Netherlands continues to damage the image of the Lowlands.

The Netherlands is listed in 11th place in annual Corruption Perceptions Index survey of 159 countries by Berlin-based NGO Transparency International.

The Dutch ranking in the 2005 Index is the country's lowest score in the last 10 years. In 2002 and 2003, the Netherlands stood in 7th place. Last year, it was 10th.

Professor Hans van Doelder, the contact person in the Netherlands for the Index, said the decline in the ranking was "not an advertisement for the Netherlands".

He pointed to the scandal of large-scale fraud in the construction industry as one of the main reasons for the poor showing of the Netherlands.

The cleanest rating for the least corruption goes to Iceland, which nudged Finland out of the top rating it has enjoyed over past years, said the anti-corruption watchdog.

Both Finland and New Zealand were tied at second place for having low levels of public corruption, the report said.

Bangladesh and Chad were given the worst rating in the index, a joint 158th place, with Haiti, Myanmar and Turkmenistan tied with the second worst public corruption ratings.

Nordic countries again topped the index with low levels of public sector corruption. Denmark was in 4th place, followed by Sweden (6th) and Norway (8th).

Anglophone countries also scored well with Australia in 9th place, Britain (11th), Canada (14th) and the United States ranked 17th.

Germany came in 16th place, just ahead of the US and France (18th).

Singapore has the lowest corruption rate in Asia putting it in 5th place, followed by Hong Kong (15th), Japan (21st), Taiwan (32nd) and South Korea (40th).

Asian countries with higher corruption perception levels were China in 78th place, India (88th), Vietnam (107th) and Indonesia at 137th place.

In the Arab world, Oman had the lowest corruption rating putting it at 28th place (tied with Israel), followed by the United Arab Emirates (30th), Qatar (32nd), Bahrain (36th) and Jordan (37th).

The worst ranked Arab country was Iraq at a joint 137th place with other countries including Ethiopia and Cameroon.

Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries by the extent to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. It is based on 16 surveys carried out by 10 polling institutes among business people and analysts from around the world.

TI defines state corruption as "the abuse of public office for private gain".

"Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming it," said TI Chairman Peter Eigen, adding: "The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations in a cycle of misery."

Eigen underlined that the five countries which ranked worst on the TI index are among the poorest nations in the world.

TI says a further development hindrance is that foreign investment is lower in countries perceived to be corrupt. Better government and less corruption allows countries to reap "a development dividend", says a World Bank report quoted in the index.

An increase in perceived corruption between 2004 and 2005 has been measured in countries such as Costa Rica, Gabon, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Seychelles and Sri Lanka, said TI.

Improvements with corruption in decline have been seen in Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kazahkstan, Nigeria, Qatar, Taiwan and Turkey, the index showed.

"Wealth is not a prerequisite for successful control of corruption," said the report, adding this was shown by countries such as Bulgaria, Estonia, and Colombia which have seen significant falls in the corruption perceptions over the past decade.

Transparency International urges a series of actions to reduce corruption.

Lower income countries should:

- Increase resources and political will for anti-corruption efforts.

- Enable greater public access to information about budgets, revenue and expenditure.

Higher income countries should:

- Combine increased aid with support for recipient-led reforms.

- Reduce tied aid which limits local opportunities and ownership of aid programmes.

Transparency International was founded in 1993 and has chapters in 90 countries. Its headquarters is in Berlin.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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