Sri Lanka makes no progress in corruption index

Sri Lanka is ranked 89th in the world in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) – an annual index published by Transparency International (TI) – with no improvement from its score in the previous year. The nation has received a score of 38 on a scale of zero to 100 with zero being ‘highly corrupt’ and 100 being ‘very clean.’

Given that its score has fluctuated between 36 and 38 since 2013, Sri Lanka’s CPI performance is considered a reflection of its stagnant anticorruption environment despite the mandate provided to the government.

Commenting on the same, Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka Asoka Obeyesekere states: “It is important to note that the CPI deals with perceived levels of public sector corruption and as such, the existence of a legislative framework without the will or operational ability to ensure timely justice reflects on Sri Lanka’s clear lack of progress to date.”

“However, with the likely conclusion of several high profile corruption cases in 2019, it is essential that all authorities uphold their impartiality and independence. If the application of the law is interpreted as selective or politically motivated, it could prove detrimental to the anticorruption drive and the justice system,” he adds.

TI observes a direct correlation between corruption and the health of democracies. While full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI, flawed democracies score an average of 49 and hybrid regimes – which exhibit autocratic tendencies – score an average of 35. Sri Lanka’s score on the CPI puts it somewhere between a flawed democracy and a hybrid regime.

In this context, TI has called on all governments to strengthen anticorruption efforts and legislation at all levels, and supporting a free and independent media is deemed to be one of the basic steps to achieve a corruption free environment.