Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt: Nation Risks Critical Corruption in Defence Sector - Transparency International

Transparency International Organization (TI) issued a press release on Tuesday stating that around 70 percent of governments fail to fight corruption in the defence sector.

The organization explains that this happens due to lacking anti-corruption mechanisms, Egypt ranks among the nine countries that critically lack these mechanisms.

A study, published on the organization's website, stated that these nine countries cannot institutionalize anti-corruption mechanisms in this sector, describing mere attempts as almost impossible.

Transparency International is a non-governmental organization headquartered in Berlin, involved in monitoring corruption and prosecuting perpetrators, it has partnerships with organizations and governments in 100 countries.

"Politicians exercise little oversight. Armed Forces fear blowing the whistle. Citizens are kept in the dark," said the press statement issued by Transparency International.

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, especially in conflict situations, where corruption can become deeply embedded."

He added that governments should clean up this sector, saying that doing so will save the lives of troops and citizens-and governments billions of dollars.

Half of the countries' defence budgets lack transparency entirely, or include only very limited, aggregated information.

In 70 percent of the countries, citizens are denied a simple indication of how much is spent by their government on secret items.

"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.

TI 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.

Countries are ranked 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.

The index ranks countries according to the level of risk of corruption in all of them, determining the risk of corruption according to the extent of threat.

Egypt came last on the list of 82 countries, among nine countries experiencing serious threat with regard to corruption on the defense sector.

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