David Cameron was caught on camera at Buckingham Palace telling the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”. A microphone picked up a conversation between himself, the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain,” the Prime Minister told them, referring to an anti-corruption summit he was due to host later.
To be fair, according to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by the Berlin-based organisation Transparency International, Nigeria features well outside the top ten most corrupt countries. The index, which includes 175 countries and territories, defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and measures perceived public sector corruption worldwide. The scores range from 100 (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt). A score of 50 is the number Transparency International considers the borderline figure distinguishing countries that do and do not have a serious corruption problem. In the 2014 survey, Nigeria scored 27. On the whole, it paints a fairly alarming picture. Not one single country got a perfect score and more than two-thirds scored below 50.
The ten most corrupt countries were identified as:
Perhaps the most perturbing aspect of this is the fact that Mr Cameron’s government continues to distribute increasing amounts of aid to countries he admits are guilty of rampant corruption.
Somalia, for example, has received £583m in UK aid under David Cameron. The figure for Afghanistan is £955m. In total, the world’s ten most corrupt nations listed above have received £2.7 billion in British aid since he took office. Ministers insist they spend to support specific development projects and trusted charities, but there must be a huge risk of these funds being diverted into unauthorised accounts.