Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is corruption gaining of foothold in Benin?

Beninese political parties and the customs services are the country’s most corrupt sectors, according to a survey jointly carried out by the government and the World Bank, the Journal Chretien reported.

“Out of the 971 persons questioned in the households, 80% felt that the political parties are the most corrupt sector, followed by customs services (79%), tax administration (70%), traffic control police officers (62%) », the survey reveals.

According to the survey released on Monday in Cotonou which also targeted 28 state services, 55% of the people questioned felt that « the Beninese customs are corrupt ».

The other corrupt services include the justice system (45%), the highway police, the dues and taxes, the criminal investigation police, the electricity and water services, the public works, and the education and health services.

The survey disclosed that "the corruption is a worrying issue in Benin" because it biases the stability and security of social actions and sullies the democratic values. Such drawbacks are likely to compromise the socio-economic development and law and order.

To fight this plague, the government issued a bill to prevent and crack down on corruption and similar offences, an official source said.

Of course, this survey looked at perceptions of corruption within Benin. When compared to other states, the country has a pretty good track record. According to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Benin does favorably well compared to other governments on the continent. Overall, the country ranks 13 of 47, but does score low in “Rule of law, transparency and corruption.”

Transparency International ranks Benin 118 out of 179 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index, placing it below other West African states like Ghana, on par with states like Mali, and well above states like Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.

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