The Maldives has fallen on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index for the third consecutive year, ranking 124 out of 180 countries.
Published Tuesday, the CPI ranks countries by their perceived level of public sector corruption using a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. With a low score of 31, the Maldives is among two-third of countries to score below 50.
The local chapter of Transparency International called the Maldives’ 2018 score “a stark reminder of the eroding democratic institutions and the unchecked level of grand corruption.”
The gradual deterioration of fundamental freedoms and rights during former president Abdulla Yameen’s five-year term paved “a smooth path for unchecked corruption and abuse of power,” it added, whilst restrictions of freedom of expression and media freedom, “coupled with weak and politically compromised institutions including the Parliament and the Judiciary, has allowed for corruption to flourish.”
In the 2017 index the Maldives ranked 112 out of 180 with a score of 33.
A minimum of three separate sources is required to calculate the CPI. The 2018 score for the Maldives was drawn from the World Bank CPIA, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, and Varieties of Democracy Project.
In light of the low score, Transparency Maldives recommended strengthening oversight institutions, closing the “implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement,” supporting civil society organisations as well as a free and independent media.
In 2011 a ranking of 134 prompted TM to describe the country’s “grand scale” corruption as systemic, with subsequent warnings about the damage it was having. It was omitted from the CPI for three years in a row.
In 2015 TM said that corruption was the biggest problem facing the Maldives.
Last year, a study found that the Maldives was one of the most secretive financial jurisdictions in the world, with partial or no public online access to information about bank secrecy and wealth registration.