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Italy drops below Rwanda in corruption ranking

Down from 55th to 67th in two years

26 October, 16:15
Italy drops below Rwanda in corruption ranking (ANSA) - Berlin, October 26 - Italy fell from 63rd to 67th in this year's Transparency International (TI) rankings of perceived corruption in the public sector, putting it below Rwanda and above Georgia.

Italy was the third-worst European Union country with only Romania (69th), Bulgaria (73rd) and Greece (78th) rated lower.

The top of the rankings saw a three-way tie between Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore, followed by Finland and Sweden, tied for fourth, and Canada in fifth.

Germany was 15th, the UK 20th, the US 22nd and France 25th.

China was 78th, India 87th and Russia 154th. The bottom four were Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar) and, last of all, Somalia.

Italy was 55th in 2008.

TI, a global civil-society organization dedicated to combating corruption, said Italy's fall "isn't all that surprising given 12 months marked by the re-emergence of proven or suspected corruption at various levels of government (local, regional, national) and which saw the involvement of functionaries and political exponents from all sides". Reactions to the report were predictable with the opposition blaming the centre-right government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi, which declined to react.

"Transparency International has certified the Italian corruption disaster, after that of freedom of speech," said the House Whip for ex-graftbuster Antonio Di Pietro's Italy of Values party, Massimo Donadi.

(Italy ranked 49th in the world for press freedom on the basis of 2009 data, according to standings drawn up by Reporters Without Borders in May).

(Italy fell five places from the previous year, trailing most other European countries).

"The Audit Court often repeats that every year in Italy a mountain of public money ends up in the pockets of crooks, with huge economic and social harm for the country," Donadi added.

The Italian Communists party commented on the "bitter truth" of the TI standings and added: "And what does Berlusconi propose to do, instead of launching a no-holds-barred fight against corruption? Set up a commission of inquiry into the magistrature". TI's annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) rates 178 countries on a scale of one to 10 on the perceived level of public-sector corruption based on 13 different expert and business surveys including from the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Economic Forum.

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