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Fifty million people paid bribes in North Africa, Middle East in 2015

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BriberyAlmost one in three people in the Middle East and North Africa – about 50 million people – had to use bribery in 2015 to access basic services like medicine, education or water, a new survey by Transparency International has found.

Transparency International’s survey of nearly 11,000 adults from nine countries in the region, also found a bad performance of governments across the region, in the fight against corruption. As much as 68 per cent believe their governments are doing poorly in the fight against corruption.

The police and the courts were found to be the most culpable institutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

The global anti-corruption body said the findings send “a clear message” that governments in the region have failed to meet the expectations of their citizens who took to the streets in their numbers during the Arab Spring to demand an end to corruption and oppression and greater civil liberties, transparency and accountability.

About 61 per cent were also of the view corruption had increased in the past twelve months, with the percentage holding such view, lower in the North African countries than those in the Middle East.

In Morocco, 26 per cent thought corruption had increased in the past year, and in Egypt 28 per cent.

The prevalence of the perception of an increase in corruption was 51 per cent in Algeria, 61 in Sudan, and 64 per cent in Tunisia.

In contrast, countries in the Middle East such as Palestine, Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon had at 70 or more saying corruption had worsened.

“It’s as if the Arab Spring never happened. Leaders who fail to stop secrecy, fail to promote free speech and fail to stop bribery also fail to bring dignity to the daily lives of people living in the Middle East and North Africa. Peoples’ human rights are seriously affected,” José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International was quoted as saying.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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