Amid a turbulent year of high-profile corruption scandals, Myanmar saw its grade in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index drop by a point in 2018, though downward momentum from other countries meant it actually inched up in the overall ranking.
Myanmar managed to climb four slots in the 180-country survey, from 136 to 132, jumping ahead of Iran, Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic and Sierra Leone. It’s overall score, however, which measures such categories as bribery, nepotism and use of public office for private gain, dropped from 30 to 29. A score of 100 is considered “very clean.”
Among Asia Pacific nations, which broadly showed little or no progress in tackling systematic corruption, Myanmar maintained a not-particularly-exemplary status quo, slotting in just under China, Thailand and Laos, but above such shining stars as Cambodia and North Korea.
Denmark, New Zealand and Finland were the top three countries globally.
While Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission has brought down some high-level officials in the judiciary in the past year and seen ministries implicated in graft cases, their oversight is limited to the civilian-led government.
In an October interview, ACC chairman Aung Kyi told RFA Myanmar that: “According to the constitution, the military has the right and authority to manage its corruption cases by itself. Our commission has no right to investigate cases committed by military officials.”
In 2018, the ACC also rejected a regional lawmaker’s request to probe the Yangon government over lost revenues that an October report from the Auditor General’s Office said amounted to billions of kyat over a several year period.