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Public services corruption in Sri Lanka - survey

Political parties and police are amongst the most corrupt in Sri Lanka, according to a survey of South Asian countries by Transparency International.

The anti-corruption organization surveyed six countries and found that more than one in three people said they pay bribes when dealing with public services.

In previous surveys of this nature, only Sub-Saharan Africa had a higher rate of bribe-paying,” Transparency International said in its press release.

The police was perceived to be the most corrupt institution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the second most corrupt institution in India, the report said.

“Political parties and the police are the most corrupt institutions in all six countries according to the survey, followed closely by the parliament and public officials,” the organization reported.

“Officials entrusted to oversee deals related to buying, selling, inheriting and renting land were the next likely to demand a bribe.”

The report, “Daily Lives and Corruption, Public Opinion in South Asia” (downloadable here), surveyed 7,500 people between 2010 and 2011 in Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

More than 44% of respondents in Sri Lankan said the government’s fight against corruption was effective, while a similar number said they most trusted the government to fight corruption. At the same time, many respondents also said the parliament and civil servants were corrupt or extremely corrupt.

Of the respondents in Sri Lanka, 43% felt that corruption had increased in the past 3 years. Nearly half the respondents who had dealings with tax authorities reported paying bribes, while a third of respondents who had dealings with customs reported the same.

Common across Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and India, bribes were mostly paid to speed things up, highlighting how corruption can also be a barrier to business expansion, Transparency International pointed out.