Maldives falls three points in Corruption Perception Index 2021

Then-members of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) pictured during a press conference on March 28, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has fallen three points in score and ten positions in country ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index. 

The CPI annually scores and ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived level of public sector corruption, drawing on surveys and expert assessments. The index uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.   

The CPI 2021 was released by Transparency International on Tuesday.  It shows the Maldives, with a score of 40, is ranked 85 out of 180 countries.

The country had scored 43 and ranked 75 in country position in the CPI 2020. 

Maldives continues to be among two-thirds of countries to score below 50. 

Transparency Maldives has issued a statement expressing concern over the poor performance. 

The organization said that while there has been some progress in strengthening the regulatory system, the data shows Maldives is still failing behind when it comes to effectively implementing and enforcing the laws to tackle corruption.  

Transparency Maldives said the country has seen weak investigation, prosecution, enforcement, and implementation of laws, resulting in increased lack of accountability of political and public officials.  

The organization said that CPI scores in the middle of the index also indicates more complex challenges such as grand corruption which includes the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many.  

Transparency Maldives said that mere technical interventions, useful in addressing petty corruption, are not enough in such cases. 

Transparency Maldives has made five main recommendations to the Maldivian government to reduce corruption and restore trust in politics.  

The recommendations: 

  • Ensure obligations under United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) are being met, strengthen preventive, monitoring, verification and enforcement mechanisms and proactively disclose information on the mechanisms implemented and progress made 
  • Ensure informed and meaningful participation of public in decisions-making, by guaranteeing access to information and publishing relevant, easy, accessible, timely data, on corruption, public spending and resource distribution 
  • Strengthen capacity and resources of State Institutes to conduct full, transparent and timely investigation and prosecution. Anti-corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources, and independence to perform their duties, free from intimidation and political influence 
  • Defend democracy and promote civic space by fully implementing laws, especially related to human trafficking and whistleblowing, thus, creating an enabling condition for human rights defenders to hold human rights abusers, including the government, accountable 
  • Hold political and public officials accountable through strengthening asset declaration regime, and ending abuse of state resources and vote buying 

Transparency Maldives also expressed concern over the vacuum in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) following the resignation of all members. The organization called on the Parliament to appoint new members without delay and ensure the findings and recommendations highlighted in the ACC performance audit are meaningfully addressed. 

The organization stressed that corruption enables human rights violations, and undermines the ability of the State to respect, protect and fulfil human rights while allowing human rights abusers to evade accountability.  

“Human rights abuses are further detrimental to the fight against corruption and hinders the ability of the people to hold power to account. Breaking this vicious cycle requires the political will to overhaul a system that promotes corruption and protects the corrupt and creates a culture of transparency and accountability,” said Transparency Maldives.