Transparency watchdog seeks US help to tackle Pacific corruption

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TI Pacific corruption report
Impunity also appears to be a problem, with less than a fifth of respondents (18 percent) believing that corrupt Pacific officials frequently face appropriate consequences for their actions. Image: Transparency International

RNZ Pacific

Strengthening democracy and rolling back corruption in the Pacific must be front of mind for Pacific leaders meeting with the US Secretary of State today.

Transparency International says the Pacific is facing a number of existential threats, so good governance is critical to open up opportunities for prosperity.

The watchdog group says governments must prioritise anti-corruption efforts by holding leaders accountable, opening up civic space, supporting whistleblowers and clamping down on corrupt businesses.

United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is meeting Pacific leaders today and Transparency says the US can help by prioritising governance measures in the Pacific in its aid.

Transparency’s 2021 Pacific Global Corruption Barometer found that Pacific people see corruption as a growing problem in government and business.

The region is facing one of the highest bribery rates worldwide in accessing public services.

Two-thirds of those surveyed believe government contracts are secured through bribes and connections and see little control over the dominant extractives sector.

40 percent believe that governments are often run by a few big interests, and over a quarter have been offered a bribe for their votes.

Pacific people believe they can be part of the solution, but feel they are not meaningfully engaged in key decision-making processes.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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