South Sudan has once again been ranked the most corrupt country in the East African region.
A 2020 report by Transparency International ranked the country the second most corrupt across the globe, followed by Somalia. Syria took the lead.
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI), ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.
It uses a scale of 0 to 100, zero being the score for the most corrupt. A score below 50 indicates serious levels of corruption in the public sector.
In the latest report, Rwanda was ranked the least corrupt in East Africa with 54 points and was followed by Tanzania with 38, Kenya with 31, Uganda 27 and Burundi 19.
In a 2019 report released by Transparency International, South Sudan was ranked the most corrupt country in East Africa followed by Burundi.
Kenya and Uganda tied in third position, while Rwanda was rated the least corrupt country in the region and the only EAC state to score above the global average rate of 43 points, after garnering 53 points.
A 2013 report about corruption in South Sudan, released by The Sentry, indicated that the vice spreads across all sectors of the economy and all levels of government.
It said that since independence, President Salva Kiir’s country has taken steps to promote transparency and accountability in its fight against corruption, but that a lack of capacity, resources and political will often hampers effective implementation.
In September 2019, The Sentry published a report titled “The Taking of South Sudan", which accused regional and international companies of profiting from the conflict in the country.
It accused seven of President Kiir’s immediate family members of forging partnerships with Chinese-Malaysian oil giants, British tycoons and networks of traders from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda.
But Presidential Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny dismissed the allegations as biased and not backed by evidence.
In October 2020, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights accused some South Sudanese politicians and senior government officials of embezzling at least $36 million since 2016.
In December that year, The Sentry reported that some South Sudanese leaders carry out money laundering and grand corruption through networks in the United Kingdom.
According to the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index from the UN Development Programme in sub-Saharan Africa, the level of inequality in South Sudan is described as “massive”.
It ranges from 6.3 per cent in South Africa to 91.9 per cent in South Sudan.
In TI’s 2020 report, Denmark and New Zealand topped the list with 88 points, followed by Finland and Singapore with 85.
The report revealed that 22 countries significantly decreased their scores, including Bosnia and Herzegovina (35), Guatemala (25), Lebanon (25), Malawi (30), Malta (53) and Poland (56).
It states that since 2012, the earliest point of comparison in the current CPI methodology, 26 countries significantly improved their CPI scores.
They include Ecuador (39), Greece (50), Guyana (41), Myanmar (28) and South Korea (61).
The global civil organisation against corruption recommended that governments take steps such as strengthening their oversight institutions, defending democracy and expanding their civic space, publishing relevant data and guaranteeing access to information.