Friday, December 1, 2023

Mexico’s corruption score remains unchanged on international index

Any progress in the federal government’s fight against corruption over the past year is not reflected on the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by the non-governmental organization Transparency International on Monday.

Mexico’s score and position are both unchanged on the new index, touted as “the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world.”

It remains in 124th place out of 180 countries with a score of 31 out of 100. Three other countries – Gabon, Niger and Papua New Guinea – share 124th position with Mexico.

A country’s score is the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean. Each country’s score is a combination of at least three data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments answered by experts and businesspeople.

The data sources, collected by institutions such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, cover 10 manifestations of public sector corruption:

  • Bribery
  • Diversion of public funds
  • Officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences
  • Ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector
  • Excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption
  • Nepotistic appointments in the civil service
  • Laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest
  • Legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption
  • State capture by narrow vested interests
  • Access to information on public affairs/government activities

Mexico’s score rose one point after President López Obrador’s first full year in office – 2019 – and an additional two points on the 2020 CPI before stalling. It is four points below the national high of 35, achieved on the 2015 index when former president Enrique Peña Nieto was in office.

AMLO, as the current president is best known, has made combatting corruption the central priority of his government – and frequently  claims to have made great great strides forward. But three years into his term many analysts say little progress has been made.

In its CPI summary for the Americas, Transparency International said “despite the president’s strong anti-corruption rhetoric, major corruption cases in the country have gone unpunished.”

Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya and ex-cabinet minister Rosario Robles have been accused of corruption, but while both are in preventative custody neither has been convicted of wrongdoing.

“The lack of recovered assets and the growing number of scandals involving close associates of the president partly explain Mexico’s [CPI] result,” Transparency International said.

Lozoya and Robles
Lozoya and Robles: major corruption cases remain unpunished.

Recent scandals have involved former anti-corruption czar Santiago Nieto, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero and López Obrador’s adult sons.

Furthermore, continued Transparency International, “there has been recent criticism over the political and electoral use of the Attorney General’s Office – which, despite its formal autonomy, is not perceived as independent.”

In the Americas, Mexico ranks among the worst countries for corruption, although it is ahead of nations such as Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua. Its CPI score is eight points below the regional average of 43, which is unchanged.

Canada ranks first in the region with a score of 74 followed by Uruguay (73), Chile (67) and the United States (67).

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are equal first on the 2021 CPI with scores of 88, while Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany also appear in the top 10.

South Sudan ranks last on the index with a score of 11. Somalia and Syria share 178th and second last place with scores of 13.

“Despite commitments on paper, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption over the last decade, and this year 27 countries are at a historic low in their CPI score,” Transparency International said.

Mexico News Daily 

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