Bangalore: A country’s defence system is meant to protect and safeguard the nation, but when it is tainted with corruption its efficiency takes a back seat. Over two thirds of countries in the world, including the world’s largest arms traders do not have sufficient measures to prevent corruption in their defence system, as per the survey done by anti-corruption watchdog, reported Adrian Croft for Reuters.
According to the survey, fifty-seven of the countries, which estimate to almost 70 percent, have poor control against corruption. The governments of these countries were rated on criteria’s like the standards expected of defence firms and the strength of parliamentary oversight of defence policy.
94 percent of global military expenditure estimated to be worth $1.6 trillion in 2011 were accounted from the 82 countries surveyed, whereas at least $20 billion is estimated per year as the global cost of corruption in the defence sector, informed the watchdog.
The director of Transparency International UK's Defence and Security Programme, Mark Pyman said he expected the international survey would have led to governments improving their anti-corruption policies.He further informed that courruption can be crucial as troops may carry equipment that doesn't work, which is wasteful and threat to life.
He also said, “Particularly at times of austerity, the idea that it is somehow acceptable that there should be corruption in defence because it has always been so is just an outrageous suggestion,” as reported by Reuters.
All the leading arms exporters, Russia, China and Israel, were considered to be inflicted with high risk of corruption in their defence system. The high risk category among the top arms importers countries included, India, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Thailand.
The survey said that nine countries which include Algeria, Cameroon, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Egypt are at ‘critical risk’ of corruption in their defence sector for basic accountability measures to curb corruption.
The countries that are classed as being at ‘very high risk’ of corruption are Iran, Afghanistan, Philippines, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. Among countries ranked high in the survey with low risk of corruption in defence sector are Britain, The United States, South Korea and Sweden, whereas Spain, France, Poland and Italy were in the moderate-risk group.
Apart from looking into the potential for corruption in defence contracts the survey also focused at the risk of abuse of defence budgets and the risk of corruption in the armed forces. The findings of the Transparency International survey was given to the governments surveyed for review.
Pyman said, “a shocking result of the survey was that in half of the countries surveyed, the defence budget was either not public or it contained no breakdown of defence spending,” as reported by Reuters.
Just 12 percent of the countries in the survey showed ‘highly effective’ parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy and just a handful of whistleblowers protected the country by reporting defence corruption.
In the recent years European countries have reported high-profile cases of alleged corruption in defence deals.
Janez Jansa, Slovenian Prime Minister has been charged with bribery for a now-abandoned 2006 deal implying him buying armoured vehicles, which he denied.
European aerospace and defence group (EADS) is facing investigations in Britain, Austria and Germany. It has launched an external review of its anti-corruption rules recently.
The need to maintain transparency in defence is as serious as protecting one’s nation seriously. The bargaining can come at cost of innocent deaths, which is a really high price to pay. To eradicate corruption may not be feasible but to keep it under control with proper scrutiny can be achieved if governments take the situations more sternly, for the betterment of the country.