The Gambia is ranked 102, as the least corrupt nation, only above 78 most corrupt countries, in a list of 180 countries gauged by Transparency International in 2020. It is a drop from the 96th position The Gambia scored in 2019. Transparency International has, a week ago, released its annual report on global corruption perception index. The CPI scores and ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be by experts and business executives.
The 2020 corruption perception index draws on 13 data sources from 12 independent institutions specializing in governance and business climate analysis. The sources of information used for the CPI 2020 are based on data published in the previous two years. The analysis shows that The Gambia has not made any substantial progress in improving its scores. The country consistently marks 37 points since 2016.
This means that The Gambia remains stagnant among the most corrupt countries in world since 2017. So far, The Gambia has not done anything better since 2012 with its score falling from 34 to 26, between 2012 and 2016. In 2017 it rose to 30 and has since 2018 stuck to 37.
Meanwhile, some countries like Senegal (ranked 67), Côte d’Ivoire (ranked 104) have struggled to quit the bottom zone of the corruption perception index with each of this country rising to 9 points from their poor scores since 2012.
The manifestations of corruption that is used to feed the corruption perception index captures Bribery, diversion of public funds, prevalence of officials using public office for private gain without facing consequences, ability of governments to contain corruption and enforce effective integrity mechanisms in the public sector, red tape and excessive bureaucratic burden which may increase opportunities for corruption, meritocratic versus nepotistic appointments in the civil service, effective criminal prosecution for corrupt officials, adequate laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest prevention for public officials, legal protection for whistleblowers, journalists, investigators when they are reporting cases of bribery and corruption, State capture by narrow vested interests, access of civil society to information on public affairs.
After defeating Yahya Jammeh, President Adama Barrow failed to put up decisive anti-corruption measures as he initially promised. A national anti-corruption Commission law is yet to be enacted. The recommendations from the Janneh Commission of Enquiry on the dealings and use of public funds by Yahya Jammeh are sniffing dust in the drawers. People indicted by the Janneh Commission serve under the President instead of going on trial as per the recommendations of the Janneh Commission. In the early days of his presidency President Adama Barrow’s wife was cited in a bribery scheme involving a Chinese company. The minister of Health revealed that people have established a scheme to steal monies catered for the Coronavirus response. So called investors use back channels to access President Barrow and acquire undue privileges using bribery and corruption.
In as much as The Gambia continues to drag its feet on implementing serious and effective reforms, the negative perception of the endemic corruption in the country will prevail for a long time. Such a negative perception will also define The Gambia in the international community.