31 January 2013

The defence industry is big business. Its marketing practices have a widely corrupting influence. A Transparency International survey has confirmed that “…corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful: everyone pays the cost…”

The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index published this week, surveys public opinion in 82 countries (which in 2011 were responsible for 94% of military spending globally). The survey found that in nearly half there was little oversight of defence policy, that information about defence spending was largely inaccessible, that legislative scrutiny of military spending was poor and that there was an equally poor framework of regulatory oversight in about 35% of those countries. Of the governments 70% are described as having “…high to critical levels of corruption vulnerability…”

Survey results of the participant countries fell into seven groups.

Australia and Germany produced the most satisfactory results, with systems given an A grade. B grade ratings were given to Austria, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United Kingdom. Singapore which is usually classified among integrity leaders, rates as a D+.

The poorest standards were exhibited in nine countries embroiled in various degrees of military chaos – Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen. They have few systems which constrain corruption.

New Zealand was not included in the survey.