70% of governments fail to protect against corruption in the defence sector

New index also finds that half of countries do not publish their defence budget, or provide only very limited aggregate information

Issued by Transparency International UK



Translations: ZH | AR | RU | ES | ZH | FR | DE


Seventy per cent of countries leave the door open to waste and security threats as they lack the tools to prevent corruption in the defence sector, according to the first ever index measuring how governments prevent and counter corruption in defence, released by Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme. Those with poor controls include two-thirds of the largest arms importers and half of the biggest arms exporters in the world.

Germany and Australia are the only countries that have strong anti-corruption mechanisms according to the index, with measures in place such as robust parliamentary oversight of defence policy. Nine countries  ̶  Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen  ̶  exhibit critical risk, lacking basic measures such as controls to enable accountability, making institutionalisation of anti-corruption mechanisms in the sector near impossible. South America and Eastern Europe, on the other hand, show lower risk of corruption thanks to strong technical controls in areas such as administration of audits.

The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index analyses what 82 countries do to reduce corruption risks. These countries accounted for 94 per cent of the global military expenditure in 2011, equivalent to USD 1.6 trillion. Countries are scored in bands from very low risk (A) to critical risk (F) according to detailed assessment across 77 indicators that cover five prominent risk areas in the sector: politics, finance, personnel, operations, and procurement.

“Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful, and the cost is paid by citizens, soldiers, companies and governments. Yet the majority of governments do too little to prevent it, leaving numerous opportunities to hide corruption away from public scrutiny and waste money that could be better spent,” explains Mark Pyman, Director of Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme.

Transparency International calls on governments to make this traditionally secretive sector, which involves large public contracts, more open. Defence establishments should increase citizens’ access to information about defence budgets and procurement. Legislators should have stronger controls and oversight of the sector, possessing the teeth and access to cut corruption down.

Transparency International estimates the global cost of corruption in the defence sector to be a minimum of USD 20 billion per year, based on data from the World Bank and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This equates to the total sum pledged by the G8 in 2009 to fight world hunger.

Politicians exercise little oversight. Armed Forces fear blowing the whistle. Citizens are kept in the dark.

The Index shows that only 15 per cent of governments assessed possess political oversight of defence policy that is comprehensive, accountable, and effective. In 45 per cent of countries there is little or no oversight of defence policy, and in half of nations there is minimal evidence of scrutiny of defence procurement.

The study also finds that citizens are frequently denied basic knowledge about the defence sector. Half of the countries’ defence budgets lack transparency entirely, or include only very limited, aggregated information. In 70 per cent of the countries, citizens are denied a simple indication of how much is spent by their government on secret items.

According to Dr. Oliver Cover, the principal author of this study, “this Index shows unequivocally that there is a severe risk of corruption in this sector. It is a shock that in some areas it is also so poorly understood, for example in conflict situations, where corruption can become deeply embedded. Our index will help everyone to understand and address the risks. Governments should clean up this sector, and our report will give them practical solutions to achieve transparency. Doing so will save the lives of troops and citizens—and governments billions of dollars.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Index is the sister index of the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index, released on 4th October 2012, which evaluated the capacity of 129 defence companies to address corruption risk.
  2. Visit http://government.defenceindex.org for detailed assessments of the 82 countries amounting to over one million words of analysis.
  3. Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme helps to build integrity and reduce corruption in defence and security establishments worldwide through supporting counter corruption reform in nations, raising integrity in arms transfers, and influencing policy in defence and security. To achieve this, the programme works with governments, defence companies, multilateral organisations and civil society. The programme is led by Transparency International UK (TI-UK) on behalf of the TI movement. For more information about the programme please visit www.ti-defence.org.

 

ANNEX 1: OVERALL RESULTS

The Index bands countries according to their level of risk of corruption. The risk of corruption is determined by the danger and extent of it occurring and by the frequency citizens may face it.

BAND A – Very Low Risk (2 COUNTRIES): Australia, Germany

BAND B – Low Risk (7 COUNTRIES): Austria, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States

BAND C – Moderate Risk (16 COUNTRIES): Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Spain

BAND D+ - High Risk (15 COUNTRIES): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, UAE

BAND D- - High Risk (15 COUNTRIES) Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turkey

BAND E – Very High Risk (18 COUNTRIES): Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe

BAND F – Critical Risk (9 COUNTRIES): Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, Yemen

 


For any press enquiries please contact

Maria Gili
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +44 (0)20 7922 7975

Rachel Davies
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +44(0)20 7922 7967

Latest

Support Transparency International

Unexplained Wealth Orders: How to catch the corrupt and corrupt money in the UK

UK parliament passed an important provision that introduces a powerful new weapon into the anti-corruption arsenal: Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had stolen their land.

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe – all told, we're monitoring 17 major public contracts worth nearly €1 billion.

A year after Panama Papers, is enough being done to stop illicit finance?

The Panama Papers revealed a global web of secret companies and stealthy crooks hiding stolen wealth, but one year on the corrupt still find it too easy to shift illegal assets and sustain criminally luxurious lifestyles.

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

See a short film created by Ghanaian widows evicted from their land who decided to organise and challenge official indifference.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world