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Gulf states slide on Transparency Corruption Index

Gulf states slide on Transparency Corruption Index

Annual index indicates growing corruption across the Gulf region

The UAE ranked as the least corrupt country in the Middle East and North Africa but joined other Gulf states in seeing its score decline on Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

The 2016 report ranked 176 countries and territories from highly corrupt with a score of 0 to very clean with a score of 100.

The UAE ranked 24th with a score of 66, down from the 70 seen in the two previous years.

In the wider Middle East, the emirates stood ahead of Israel in 28th with a score of 64, up from 61 in 2015, and Qatar in 31st, which saw the sharpest decline in the overall index from 71 to 61.

“The country [Qatar] has been implicated with FIFA corruption scandals, especially around the votes to host the 2022 World Cup, in addition to human rights violations of migrant workers,” Transparency said.

Next came Jordan in 57th with a score of 48, down from 53 the previous year, and Saudi Arabia in 62nd with a score of 46, down from 52.

Oman stood in 64th and maintained its score at 45 while Bahrain stood in 70th having seen its score decline from 51 to 43.

Kuwait was ranked 75h after its score declined from 49 to 41.

“Gulf States have dropped on the index, as ruling families continue to hold power politically and economically, public freedoms are oppressed, and an active independent civil society is absent. The military involvement of these states in regional coalitions has raised the levels of secrecy,” the report noted.

Transparency said two-thirds of countries in the index fell below the midpoint in the scale and the average score was a “paltry” 43.

“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity,” said José Ugaz, chairman of Transparency International.

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