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  Nr. 3151 de joi, 21 octombrie 2004 
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As corrupted as Iran and the Dominican Republic
-- Finland and New Zealand are the least corrupted
Yesterday Transparency International (TI) released data included in the yearly evaluation of corruption level. The top studied 146 country and Romania is number 89. The evaluation is available at www.transparency.org. The Results show the perception of businessmen, especially foreign businessmen on corruption deeds committed by officials and politicians. Two days ago the new US Ambassador to Romania, Jack Dyer Crouch II delivered a speech and advised Romania to fight against corruption and take all efforts to eradicate it. (...)
Romania got a 2.9 score on a 1-10 range. It was included in the category of 60 countries perceiving corruption as generalised. As compared to other states making preparations for the EU accession, Romania at a great distance. Croatia, for instance, gained status as official candidate to EU and is number 67, Bulgaria got the 54th position and Turkey is number 77. According to the top, the least corrupted state in the world is Finland, with 9.7. It is followed by New Zealand with 9.6, Denmark and Island with 9.5.
The score Romania has reached for this year is inferior to the average of yearly scores in 1997 - 2004, that is 2.97. As for the same period, the average score of EU countries was 7.71. The average score of new EU members is 4.66. Romania got the highest "grades" for 1997 - 1999: 3.44 - 1997, 3.00 - 1998 and 3.30 - 1999.
The research used the following Romanian sources: Environment and Enterprise Survey 2002 by the World Bank and The European Bank for Development and Reconstruction, State Capacity Survey 2003 by the US University of Columbia and Country Forecast 2004 by Economics intelligence Unit, the Freedom House Report "Nations in Transit 2004", World Competitiveness Report 2003 and 2004 by the International Institute for Management and Development, Survey 2002 and 2004 by the Multinational Development Bank, Risk Ratings 2004 by World Markets Research Centre, Global Competitiveness Report 2002, 2003 and 204 by the World Economics Forum.
"Failure in applying anti-corruption policies"
"Romania's low score shows the failure of anti-corruption policies" and proves true the critique included in the latest country report by the European Union, explained TI representatives to Romania. Romanian institutions lack the capacity to find solution to this problem and there is no political will to make use of the legislation. "Corruption level explains corruption affecting public sector contracts all over the world", stated Oana Zabava, Executive Manager of TI Romania.
Victor Alistar, Co-ordinator of the Citizen Assistance Centre, believes there are several categories of causes that have made Romania be perceived as corrupted. "The lack of political will at ministry and Parliament commission level is one of these causes", explained Alistar. Another one is the malfunctioning of institutions in terms of double responsibilities. Officials have disregarded the corruption perception rate so far because it relies on perception, not on evaluations and polls, specified Zabava. This is why the consequences have been seen as not serious. The corruption perception rate focuses on corruption in the public sector and defines corruption as abuse of public attributions to personal advantage. (...)
According to Alistar, "If Romanian officials do not take into consideration the corruption perception rate, it will be like suicide", as the recent Country Report by the EU Commission imposed a 1- year special monitor clause on Romania. If political criteria are not obeyed, Romania's ascension to EU might be postponed.
"The system is still vulnerable"
Alistar mentioned that, according to the Executive calendar, laws on the fight against corruption should have already been published by the Official Monitor, which did not happen. He also reminded that the decision made by one Parliament Chamber does not meet advice from NGOs. Alistar warned: "The Romanian system is still vulnerable". TI representatives to Romania also explained that, although there were four years since we had adopted the Anti - Corruption Strategy, we made no progress at all. Technically speaking, the partnership between NGOs dealing with the fight against corruption and government institutions has stopped for the time being. TI representatives told that TI Romania wanted no political involvement or interference in the election campaign for or against a person.
Ana DINESCU 
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