Singapore has been ranked the fifth corrupt country in the world and the first in Asia in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 by Transparency International.

The ranking by the anti-corruption body lists Denmark as first in being least corrupt, Finland and New Zealand share second places, Norway takes fourth, while the city-state is listed fifth rank together with Sweden.

Singapore has also dropped from its ranking from its fourth position in 2021 and third in 2020.

Transparency International says that the 2022 CPI shows most countries are failing to stop corruption.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

The global average remains unchanged for over a decade at just 43 out of 100. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, while 26 countries have fallen to their lowest scores yet.

Despite concerted efforts and hard-won gains by some, 155 countries have made no significant progress against corruption or have declined since 2012.

Each country’s score is a combination of at least 3 data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments. These data sources are collected by a variety of reputable institutions, including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

The data sources used to compile the CPI specifically cover the following manifestations of public sector corruption:

  • Bribery
  • Diversion of public funds
  • Officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences
  • Ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector
  • Excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption
  • Nepotistic appointments in the civil service
  • Laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest
  • Legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption
  • State capture by narrow vested interests
  • Access to information on public affairs/government activities

It does not cover

  • Citizens’ direct perceptions or experience of corruption
  • Tax fraud
  • Illicit financial flows
  • Enablers of corruption (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors etc)
  • Money-laundering
  • Private sector corruption
  • Informal economies and markets

The Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB), in a news release, said the corruption situation in Singapore “remains firmly under control”. 

“The annual corruption statistics released by the CPIB last year indicated that the number of public sector corruption cases has remained consistently low over the years,” it said.

CPIB further noted that the results from its recent Public Perception Survey conducted in 2022 indicated strong public confidence in Singapore’s national corruption control efforts. From the biennial survey of over 1,000 respondents in Singapore, 96% rated Singapore’s corruption control efforts to be effective, an improvement from 94% in 2020.

Political determinationheavy punishment for corruption offences, and a zero tolerance culture for corruption were the top three most important factors that contributed to the low corruption rate in Singapore, said CPIB

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