North Korea suffers from some of the highest levels of corruption in the world, according to a report released by the NGO Transparency International on Tuesday.
In findings released as part of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, which ranks global levels of corruption by correlating surveys of experts and the assessments of institutions, the DPRK received a score of just 8 /100.
This gave North Korea the same score as Afghanistan and Somalia, and ranked it 175 out of the 177 countries surveyed.
Transparency International’s Research Director Finn Heinrich told NK News that North Korea ranked so badly because “the political system is basically relying on corruption”.
Much of Transparency International’s sources used defector testimony, Heinrich said, which helps “give us an assessment of what’s happening in North Korea”, as well as “independent observers who follow the country quite closely, have contacts within the country”.
When asked how North Korea could be compared to Afghanistan and Somalia, which are currently in states of civil war, Heinrich accepted that “a ranking of corruption in 177 countries has to be quite generic, but it gives a good general overview of how the country is doing and gives a red flag. In the case of these three countries it’s a very deeply red flag”.
“Now in these countries the forms of corruption, and how they take place and materialise are very different – in order to capture those things you need more fine-grained and different approaches”.
There is no sign of improvement in North Korea, Henrich concluded, saying its score “is stable at an extremely low, low level”.
Executive Vice President of the Peterson institute for International Economics Marcus Noland told NK News that the news was unsurprising, given Tuesday’s news that North Korea has “reputedly just executed two high ranking officials for corruption…one can infer that there is an issue”.
“On the other hand,” he argued, “executions may be positively correlated with improvement in the succeeding year. Something to keep an eye on”.
The Corruption Index is correlated from assessments by organizations such as the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and numerous Political Risk assessment agencies.
Picture: Eric Lafforgue
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