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Jordan ranks 60th globally, 5th regionally on Corruption Perceptions Index 2020

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jan 28,2021 - Last updated at Jan 28,2021

AMMAN — The Kingdom has maintained its ranking on the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2020 for the past two years, standing at the 60th place, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported, citing a report released by the international anti-graft watchdog.

Scoring 49 points out of 100, Jordan ranked 60th among 180 countries on the index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption, and ranked fifth among Arab countries following the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia, according to the report

According to Rasheed for Transparency and Integrity, a non-profit organisation and the local branch of the TI, the CPI relies on data collected through specialised surveys and opinion polls carried out by independent institutions to determine the degree of corruption in the public sector in 180 countries, which is done by assigning a score ranging from 0, given to those with the most corruption, to 100, given to countries with the most integrity.

Jordan received a score of 49 out of 100, one degree better than 2019 and the same as the score of 2018, according to a Rasheed statement.

The index covers a range of topics of interest to the general public, such as bribery, accountability, monitoring the use of public funds, embezzlement of public money and officials' abuse of their positions for personal gain. It also takes into consideration the government's ability to reduce corruption, bureaucratic procedures that contribute to increasing corruption, and favouritism in the recruitment and hiring process, the statement said.

The CPI also addresses the protection of whistleblowers, journalists, and investigators when reporting cases of corruption, the ability of civil society to access information of public concern and the degree of accountability available to citizens, according to the statement.

Sources used to calculate Jordan’s CPI include: Bertelsmann FDN Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, The World Competitiveness Yearbook, and Political Risk Services International Country Risk, noted the statement.

The sources also include the Varieties of Democracy Project, the World Economic Forum’s EOS and World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law, according to the statement.

In remarks to The Jordan Times, Rasheed attributed the increase in Jordan’s overall score to a 3.15 points increase in the score of the source: Rule of Law Index, issued by the WJP, whereas the score decreased by 1.89 points in the Varieties of Democracy Index.

In the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates scored 71 and Qatar 63, which were the highest scores on the index compared to the rest of the Arab countries, while Yemen received a score of 15, Syria 14, and Somalia got 12, which was the lowest score of all Arab states, according to the CPI.

“The reason for such low scores lies possibly in weak institutions, the absence of the rule of law, the spread of impunity, the restriction and suppression of public freedoms, the weakening of civil society institutions, and the lack of transparency in the preparation and disbursement of public finances,” according to the organisation.

Globally, Denmark and New Zealand received a score of 88, the highest on the CPI, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, each of which received 85 points. 

Transparency International’s analysis revealed that these countries adopted gender equality and social justice, and invested more in healthcare than other countries. These countries have also practised democracy and the rule of law during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by involving citizens in the process of decision-making.

“The improvement of Jordan’s score in the Rule of Law Index might have been due to the impact of amendments made to the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission Law as well as the proposed amendments regarding the Audit Bureau Law and the Illicit Gains Law that were sent to the Lower House after endorsement from the Cabinet,” Rasheed added.

“The said amendments led to enhancing the financial and administrative independence of the Audit Bureau, expanding the scope of its supervision to include grants and support. Moreover, they granted impunity to the president of the bureau, and expanded its tasks and powers,” Rasheed noted.

The Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission Law of 2020 categorised new crimes as corruption offenses, such as abuse of authority, money laundering and crimes listed in Article 59 of the Election Law for the Lower House.

The draft law on illicit gains has also been endorsed, which led to moving the Financial Disclosure Department at the Ministry of Justice to the Jordan Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (JIAAC), ensuring the independence of its affairs and adding more means to follow up on the declarations submitted by taxpayers, in accordance with the provisions of the law, Rasheed said, adding that the draft law also put mechanisms to save and archive the declarations as well as audit them and verify that the information they contain is correct.

“These changes constituted a qualitative leap from the traditionally followed measures in accordance with the current law”, Rasheed said, noting that the draft law also allowed for submitting the declarations online and listed the means necessary to look into any complaint or notification related to illicit gains in accordance with the committee formed under the provisions of the law.

Rasheed attributed the decrease of Jordan’s score in the source: Varieties of Democracy by 1.89 points to the decline in democratic practices, embodied in the freedom of assembly and freedoms of opinion, expression and journalism, according to the source’s analysis.

An evident increase is noticed in indicators that take into consideration the right to access information as a standard of evaluation, which Rasheed said is due to the Cabinet’s endorsement of the draft law on access to information and referral to the Lower House. 

Rasheed said that the draft law added new entities to the Information Council, including professional associations and civil society institutions, and it also consolidated the concept of proactive disclosure in its texts.

Based on the CPI, Rasheed issued 12 recommendations, including strengthening the role of regulatory bodies and institutions by allocating sufficient funds and resources and enhancing the administrative independence necessary for them to perform their duties; continuing harmonisation of all legislations in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption as well as bilateral agreements, in addition to updating and refining the current legal texts in accordance with the Jordanian experience.

The recommendations also include ensuring transparent contracting to combat abuse and conflicts of interest, and ensure fair pricing, and ensuring the right to access information and proactive disclosure of information to the public in a clear manner that can be analysed electronically and periodically. 

Other recommendations involve ensuring the transparency of the budget in all its stages; protection of whistleblowers, encouragement of reporting, and support to those who have suffered from corruption.


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