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Korea ranks 39th on list of corruption perceptions

Jan 28,2020
A Berlin-based international agency that annually ranks countries by their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector has placed Korea 39th out of 180 nations in its latest index.

Korea’s anticorruption watchdog, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), announced last Thursday in Seoul that Korea came in 39th place in the latest 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with a score of 59. The higher the score and rank, the less likely the country’s public sector is perceived to be corrupt.

It was the third time in a row that Korea ranked and scored higher on the Transparency International’s CPI than the previous year.

In 2018, Korea received 57 points and was ranked 45th in the world. In 2017, it received 54 points and came in 51st place.

Among the countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Korea placed 27th out of 36 nations last year, three slots higher than in 2018.

Compared to 2018, Korea saw improvements in the government’s ability to control corruption, and the public sector was perceived to be giving fewer bribes to the private sector. Korea’s political system was also found to have been less corrupt than in 2018.

Every year, Transparency International fields assessments from experts and business people to rank 180 countries by their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.

In the 2019 CPI, Denmark and New Zealand came in first place with a tied score of 87 points, followed by Finland with 86 points, and Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland which all tied with 85 points. The most corrupt countries were identified as Somalia, which scored 9 points, followed by South Sudan with 12 points, Syria with 13 points, Yemen with 15 points and Venezuela with 16 points.

In a press release, the ACRC vowed to have Korea rank among the top 20 least-corrupt nations in the world by 2022. Korea’s “CPI has improved for the third straight time thanks to combined efforts from the public and private sector,” ACRC Chairperson Pak Un Jong said in a statement. “But in light of [Korea’s] international status, there’s still room for improvement, so in order to continuously raise the country’s national transparency level, [the ACRC], as the governing body of anticorruption, will do its best to spread a fair culture throughout the society alongside relevant ministries and the public.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]