Uzbekistan’s corruption index: it is worse only in Afghanistan, Somali…

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Transparency International has published a corruption perceptions index for 2012 in which Uzbekistan ranked 170th among 174 countries, which is only better than Myanmar, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somali.

The global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, two of the CIS countries, among the world’s most corrupt countries.

They were placed in the bottom of this year’s corruption perception index sharing the 170th place among the most odious dictatorial regimes, such as Myanmar and North Korea, and failed countries, such as Afghanistan and Somali.

Transparency International graded 176 countries on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, in which 100 meant the best result, or the absence of corruption, which was not given to any country. Close to it were Denmark,Finland and New Zealand with 90 points each.

Over two thirds of the countries gained less than 50 points, which in Transparency International experts’ opinion pointed to the need to fight for transparency of public institutions and to make officials more accountable.

Corruption may take place anywhere when a politician places his personal interests above public ones, when public figures demand money for their services which they must provide free of charge, Transparency International writes.

This description is familiar in Uzbekistan. Cables by the

US embassy in Uzbekistan, which were made public by WikiLeaks, described how the Uzbek president’s elder daughter Gulnara Karimova together with a criminal boss, Salim Abduvaliyev, trade in government posts in the country.

Candidates for the posts of mayor, prosecutor or minister bring their resumes to Abduvaliyev, who then submits them to Gulnara Karimova, said one of the cables from the US embassy.

But Karimova has found herself involved in a row about money laundering in Switzerland and Sweden, thus she has remained in Tashkent since the summer, sometimes entertaining herself with making music videos and sometimes with conferences, marathons and fashion shows.

Over $600m, which belonged to Karimova, remain frozen in several Swiss banks since last July, according to a investigative report conducted in Europe.

Authorities in Sweden also froze €30m in the country in connection with a row in which Sweden’s telecom giant TeliaSonera was accused of paying about $340m to Karimova to access the telecom market and to buy the mobile operator Ucell in 2007.

Uzbekistan’s neighbours were ranked higher: Tajikistan 157th with 22 points, Kyrgyzstan 154th with 24, Azerbaijan 139th with 27 and Kazakhstan and Russian sharing the 122nd place both scoring 28 points.

Georgia fared best on corruption among the former USSR countries, ranking 51st with 52 points.

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