By Anthony Sheridan
There are 167 countries listed on the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International (TI) for 2015.
The least corrupt country (Denmark) comes in at number one. The most corrupt is Somalia at 167.
Ireland is 18 while Afghanistan comes in as the second most corrupt country at 166.
Ireland’s high rating does not come anywhere near reflecting the actual level of corruption in the country.
This can be clearly demonstrated by comparing a special report by TI on corruption in Afghanistan with similar corruption in Ireland.
This article is based on a news report by Al Jazeera on the TI report. I suspect that many Irish citizens would be shocked to learn that Ireland is, in many ways, even more corrupt than Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: The former CEO of Kabul bank Khalilullah Ferozi was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for his role in stealing 900 million USD.
Ireland: A judge refused to jail two bank directors who were found to have committed a serious crime because the financial regulator had given the green light to the illegal share-buying scheme for which they were convicted.
So, two criminal bankers are effectively set free after being found guilty of a serious crime and, much more seriously, no action whatsoever is taken against the state regulator who gave the go-ahead for the crime.
Afghanistan: With the backing of powerful politicians Ferozi was soon released from jail and signed a multi-million dollar real estate deal with the blessing of government officials.
Ireland: Because of the backing of powerful politicians criminal bankers/property developers never go to jail in the first place. Dodgy and outright criminal deals are not uncommon in the Irish business community, particularly deals involving state funds. Government officials seldom question these deals.
Afghanistan: Corruption still plagues the country despite an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community to reform the system.
Ireland: Corruption has yet to be even acknowledged as a reality by the state. Despite an almost weekly diet of corrupt revelations the issue itself is never actually discussed or acted upon.
Afghanistan: According to TI the country is still beset by rampant bribery within the police department, a justice department manipulated by politicians and government employees hired on the basis of whom they know.
Ireland: Corruption is rampant within the police force particularly at higher levels. Politicians openly manipulate the justice department, even to the point of sacking a police commissioner for political reasons, and many government employees are hired on the basis of whom they know.
Afghanistan: How do you fight corruption when the Government itself is corrupt?
Ireland: It is not just the government that is corrupt; the state itself is intrinsically corrupt.
Afghanistan: The report calls for a new independent body to fight corruption. An independent commission to train and appoint judges and a new Attorney General with a record of fighting crime.
Ireland: An independent body to fight corruption has never even been proposed never mind actually discussed as a serious idea. There is no independent commission to train and appoint judges. There is a body that advises politicians about the appointment of judges but this is merely a fig leaf to give the impression that there is no direct link between politicians and the appointments of judges.
Ireland has never appointed an Attorney General with a record of fighting corruption.
Afghanistan: Government response to the TI report:
We’re in the process of overhauling the whole system of fighting corruption.
Ireland: Politicians, government officials, police and most of the media have yet to even acknowledge that there is a need to create, never mind overhaul, a system to fight corruption.
Afghanistan: The president of Afghanistan finds himself in a very delicate position. If he’s not serious about fighting corruption he risks losing credibility and pubic trust. If he is serious he risks going toe to toe with some of the country’s most powerful people.
Ireland: This choice presents no problem for mainstream Irish politicians. For decades they have blatantly sided with the corrupt and still do even though a large percentage of the people have lost trust in the system.
Afghanistan: It was the backing of powerful people that helped convicted embezzler Ferozi to get out of jail to sign the real estate deal. It was only when Afghans became outraged that the president voided the agreement and pushed prosecutors to send Ferozi back to prison.
Ireland: Embezzlers who are friendly with politicians never go to jail in the first place. Irish citizens who express anger about the very close links between politicians and corrupt businessmen are likely to find themselves questioned by the police.
Afghanistan: Perhaps a glimmer of hope (the sending of Ferozi back to prison) in a crisis that has cost this country billions of dollars and public trust that’s impossible to measure.
Ireland: There is no glimmer of hope from the mainstream parties or from so-called law enforcement agencies. But there is great hope from the rapidly growing bottom-up movement of ordinary people who have rejected the culture of corruption that has inflicted so much suffering.