Saturday, Sept. 05
Latest News
  1. Hungarian parliament introduces emergency anti-migration laws
  2. Putin says Assad agrees to early parliamentary polls
  3. Morocco votes in test for Islamist government
  4. UAE says 22 Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen
  5. Bob Geldof offers to house four Syrian families
  6. IS blows up famed tower tombs at Syria's Palmyra
  7. Drowned Syrian boy Aylan buried as Europe wrangles over refugees
  8. EU under pressure to agree refugee quotas as ministers meet
  9. Israeli army: 5 tourists attacked by local residents in Hebron
  10. Death toll in IS Yemen mosque attack rises to 32
  11. Netanyahu defends Iran deal fight after Obama secures support
  12. Security sources: 4 Turkish police killed in PKK bombing
  13. Hungary's Orban: Migrant crisis is German, not European problem
  14. WHO: Liberia declared free of Ebola - again
  15. Official: over 230,000 refugees arrive in Greece this year
  16. Guatemalan president resigns over corruption firestorm
  17. Double suicide attack kills 30 in North Cameroon
  18. Italy PM says Europe 'cannot just get emotional' about migrants
  19. Court: Two British reporters held in Turkey to be released
  20. Chung claims 'fraud' in FIFA presidential poll

Group: Middle East states must tackle military corruption

Feb. 6, 2013 10:48 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2013 6:35 P.M.)
By: Sylvia Westall
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Governments in North Africa and the Middle East rocked by Arab Spring revolts must listen to citizen demands for accountability by cracking down on corruption in the armed forces, an anti-graft watchdog said on Wednesday.

Defence and security bodies had a significant role in the regional upheaval and should use the momentum of the changes to reform from within, a Transparency International report said.

It found that the risk of military corruption was "high" to "critical" for all 19 governments assessed in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA).

"As the military is a dominant feature of many MENA nations and has a significant stake in political leadership, the issue of corruption in defense is ever more pressing," it said in a regional version of an anti-graft index focused on armed forces.

It judged the 19 governments on a global scale of A to F, with A being the lowest risk and F the highest.

Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates scored top marks in MENA with their graft risk level judged as "high", or a D on the global scale.

Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen came bottom of the list, with a "critical" level of corruption risk and score of F.

In these countries "citizens perceive defense institutions as corrupt or indifferent to corruption and consider them to lack the political will to counter it", Transparency said.

It said organized crime had penetrated the military and security services in some of the countries in this group, that bribery payments were rampant and procurement of military equipment was an opaque process.

Other countries, including regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran, scored a middling grade, meaning that they had a "high" to "very high" risk of military graft.

Transparency found that in all states but Kuwait there was no legislative committee to scrutinize the defense budget or, if such a panel existed, it received no detailed information.

No country in the region had strong or even moderate parliamentary oversight of the intelligence services, the report said, while in over 60 percent the defense budget was not available at all, or it was difficult to obtain a breakdown.

The Transparency report included a detailed action plan for governments to tackle military corruption and said they should heed popular calls for reform. "Demands for accountable governments that protect and serve their citizens, rather than themselves, have arisen throughout the region."

Resource-rich countries in the region were more at risk of military corruption than their poorer counterparts.

"Perhaps such wealth maintains and develops patronage networks and elites who in turn limit the openness and accountability of defense and security establishments," it said in its Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index 2013.

The report was carried out by independent assessors who answered 77 questions for each country in the risk areas of politics, finance, personnel, operations and procurement. Governments were given the chance to comment on the findings.

Following are Transparency's defense sector rankings:

'High' corruption risk

D : Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates

D- : Jordan, Palestinian National Authority*

'Very high' corruption risk

E : Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia

'Critical' corruption risk

F : Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen

* The report used the generic term "country" to cover 18 countries and the Palestinian Territories in the assessment.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015