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Political Corruption: Least and Most Corrupt Countries Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2020


Corruption does not fit in the singular type of behavior nor does it fit in the common kind of behaviors. According to Jacobs and Anechiarico, the term corruption does not mean that the conduct in question is illegal but it serves the purpose of indicating to the laborer that the act committed is either unethical or immoral (Jacobs and Anechiarico, 1996, p. 3). Different people have different views on ethical and moral behavior hence creating room for argument on the labeling of corruption.

In modern times, public servants have been under scrutiny by the public on matters pertaining to service delivery. This has led to not only following of the laws to the latter but also avoiding the labeling of corruption in their work place. By limiting corruption to a term that is associated with conduct prohibited by law, the question of ambiguity and doubt pertaining to corruption will remain as an issue to tackle.

Corruption can take different forms of acts. Bribery for instance is considered as an official form of corruption. Officials in public offices are more prone to this kind of vice as some of them use their status in the public office for personal and private gains. In addition to this thievery is also described as one of the other form of corruption.

In thievery, the officials tend to misuse or steal government properties for personal gains. These officials go to the extent of committing fraud, undertaking personal work on the job and late arrivals at work while at the same time leaving early (Jacobs and Anechiarico, 1996, p. 3 & 4).

Integrity on the other hand indicates the quality of conducting one’s self by upholding the values, rules, and norms acceptable both politically and in the public domain. Integrity violation has resulted to a number of public misconducts, which include corruption, nepotism, sexual harassment, and bribery. Corruption has recently been described as an umbrella concept. This umbrella covers majority of integrity violation (Fijnaut and Huberts, 2002, p 2).

The least corrupt countries and their trends

According to Transparency international corruption perception index 2009, New Zealand and Denmark were ranked as the countries with the least corruption. According to Tarling, New Zealand has been shaped by its colonial past tradition. This tradition emphasizes gestures such as egalitarian approach and self-help. This hence cements their negative perception towards abuse of power. As a small community, the New Zealanders have the ability to remonstrate if necessary to achieve their point.

In a short summary, New Zealand can be described as a society of educated individuals, which condemns and at the same time does not tolerate unfairness and corruption. This perception plays a major role in maintaining the degree of corruption at minimal levels. Majority of corrupt acts are undertaken as illegal that results from breach of existing criminal laws.

This hence calls into action the New Zealand law enforcers who have the mandate to enforce the criminal law as well as the crimes act to the latter. In addition to this, matters of fraud that are complex in nature and numerous were directed to a particular Serious Fraud Office that was set up in 1990. The function of this office was to detect, investigate, and quicken the prosecution of fraud offenders (Tarling, 2005, p. 268).

In the past five years, the CPI-index suggests that the corruption levels are at their lowest. This has hence transformed the Danish community’s focus on cases abroad. In addition to this, an anti-corruption law was implemented and ratified by the Danish government. The law at that moment was perceived to be Europe’s toughest legal structure.

The risks involved in corruption that pertains to the both multilateral and unilateral economic support in the third world countries are normally considered by the political administration in Denmark. Lack of political and legal will by some European communities to combat corruption in business transactions conducted internationally has left the Danish industry with a major problem. Corruption should not be considered as a political issue as Denmark is a role model of working in a transparent manner (Beken, Ruyver and Siron, 2001, p. 110).

The most corrupt countries and their trends

The Transparency international perception index produced in 2009 indicates s Afghanistan and Somali as the nations that highly engulf with corruption. Corruption levels have been very high in Somalia since in the early 80s. This has not changed much as Somali is still ranked as one of the most corrupt countries thanks to the wars and piracy activities. In addition to this corruption did not spare the existing Transitional Federal Government as high-ranking officials of Puntland government were allegedly linked to piracy activities.

Corruption levels involved UN aid food that ran in millions of dollars. Syndicates of wealthy Somali business men are said to be involved in food flow as some are associated with militias. Apart from this, embassy officials are said to be implicated in fraud for allowing Europe’s visa permits to known pirates. These militias ended up receiving asylum in Sweden (Eichstaedt, 2010, p. 176).

Despite reforms been undertaken in the public and governance dimensions of Afghanistan improvement records, indicate something different. Corruption has not only increased but also spread throughout Afghanistan as a result of Taliban’s downfall. Anti-corruptions tactics employed have also suffered a setback due to lack of political will, disarray in institutions as well as the capacity of the magnitude.

Corruption in the Afghanistan state has been contributed by poor governance and hence it is described as cancer eating away the Afghanistan’s economy.

Other reasons as to why corruption is of high magnitude in Afghanistan include 1) existing amount of money present for corrupt activities; 2) Loss of the country’s legitimacy in the quarter century conflict; 3) lack of sound monitoring in spending of money; 4) Presence of a fragile political environment. In spite of this, the government has strongly reaffirmed its commitments in fighting corruption (Hayes, 2008, p. 105).

Major differences between the most and the least corrupt countries


War has been reflected as one of the major reason that is contributing or has contributed to the rising levels of corruption. On looking at the two countries that have been branded as most corrupt one cannot miss the fact that they are both struggling war scenarios. In Afghanistan, there is the Taliban war while in Somali there is the militia war against the transition government. In the least corrupt countries, there is a stable and peaceful environment as opposed to that of war.

Stability in Governance

Stability in governance is one of the major issues that crops up while comparing these two sets of countries. In the most corrupt countries, the stability in governance is a goal to be achieved, as the governments are busy fighting opposition from militias and the Taliban. On the other hand, the countries with the least levels of corruption have a stable government; thus, they can manage to focus on social issues like corruption.


Poverty levels in the countries that are most corrupt are high as compared to countries that are least corrupt. This hence provides a wide opening for the poor people to engage in negative social issues like corruption. Least corrupt countries are equipped with employment opportunities thus reducing chances of corruption.

Culture in Business Ethics

Culture is a tool that can work in both negative and positive way depending on how it is used in the situation at hand. Ethically speaking corruption is an act that is morally not accepted generally in business ethics. On getting use to the culture of corruption, the trend never ceases to end but instead it expounds more and more. On the other hand, once the culture of condemning and not tolerating corruption is initiated issues of abuse of public office will have been dealt a blow.

Issues favoring ethical countries

Legislative Actions

Ethical countries undertake decisive legislative actions in order to streamline their institutions for the sole aim of avoiding corruption activities. Tougher laws are put in place that acts accordingly to the perpetrators in question thereby discouraging corruption. Some of these laws are suggested to be the toughest in all of Europe.

Anti-corruption bodies

Anti-corruption bodies are normally instituted in the ethical countries as compared the unethical countries. In relation to this, the New Zealand government for instance instituted a Serious Fraud Office that was designated special powers of detecting, investigating, and bringing to justice corrupt perpetrators.

Such kind of anti-corruption bodies help to eradicate the corruption activities and put perpetrators on their toes. This is different when discussing unethical countries, as some of them such as Somali do not have set mechanisms of establishing these bodies.

Recommendations of lessening corruption

Removal of Institutional Loopholes

In this case, the institutions are strengthened by identifying the loopholes that make it vulnerable to corruption and getting rid of them. This should be emphasized even if it means changing the existing laws to seal these loopholes.


Transparency should be increased and encouraged especially in public institutions. By doing so, citizens and other public officials will be able to acquire the information required to make an informed decision.


In accountability, mechanisms are put in place for ensuring the public officials undertake the duties they owe to the public. The relationship in terms of behavior between public officials, punishment, and rewards are spelt out for accountability to work. Accountability will hence be implemented in terms of internal monitoring and external monitoring.


Corruption can be defined by simplest of terms but its repercussion to the economy and society is what should be the topic of concern. While corruption is associated with abuse of office or power this then describes the behavioral pattern witnessed around the world.

Ways and means of dealing with corruption has become a topic of concern internationally thus making it a phenomenon found in various countries that have different economies and ideology. The Transparency international aggregates survey results, which assist in ranking countries according to their corruption perception index. These indexes are hence used to know the least and the most corrupt countries.


Anechiarico, F. and Jacobs, J. B. (1996). . London: University of Chicago Press. Web.

Beken, T., Ruyver, B. and Siron, N. (2001). . Antwerpen: Maklu-Uitgevers NV. Web.

Eichstaedt, P. (2010). . Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. Web.

Fijnaut, C. and Huberts, L. (2002). Corruption, Integrity and Law enforcement. The Hague. Web.

Hayes, G. (2008). . Ontario: Wilfrid University Press. Web.

Tarling, N. (2005). . NY: Routledge. Web.

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