Q24N – The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published Tuesday by Transparency International shows that levels of corruption in the public sector in Panama have remained stagnant since 2012, when the country was included in the CPI.
In this edition of the IPC2021, Panama obtained a score of 36/100 (with 0 being the most opaque/corrupt and 100 being the most transparent/clean), occupying position 105 among 180 countries in the world ranking.
This rating again places Panama below the average for the American region of 43/100, with the best-rated countries in the region being Canada (74), Uruguay (73), Chile (67) and the worst-rated Nicaragua (20). , Haiti (20) and Venezuela (14).
Compared to previous ratings, in the last decade, Panama has been fluctuating by an average of 37/100, going down or up 1 or 2 points year over year, as a result of small adjustments in the sources, but these fluctuations are not statistically significant and only They confirm the lack of real institutional progress in the transparency and accountability of the public sector, and the certainty of punishing acts of corruption by the administration of justice.
The Index rates 180 countries and territories around the world based on the perception of corruption in the public sector, using data from 13 external sources of global experts, from both the international public and private sectors.
The sources that were used for the evaluation in the CPI2021 of Panama are:
- Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index
- The Economist Intelligence Unit country rankings
- Global Insight Country Risk Ratings
- PRS International Country Risk Guide
- Varieties of Democracy Project
- World Economic Forum – Executive Opinion
- World Justice Project Rule of Law Index
“Panama’s stagnation is a reflection of situations experienced in 2021, such as attacks on freedom of expression and information, lack of accountability and setbacks in democratic institutions,” said Transparency International from Panama.
It has also been a year where social inequality was aggravated by the economic and health impacts of the pandemic, the organization added.
Except for some specific advances, mainly the new online public procurement system – Panamá Compras -, little progress has been made on specific issues of institutional transparency. On the contrary, the list of insults to democratic institutions that have strengthened corruption is long:
- Impunity in cases of corruption involving public funds and political figures.
- Disrespect for the Administrative Career, using the state payroll as political loot.
- Discretionary use of public funds for clientelistic political schemes, privileges, perks and unjustified expenses of officials.
- Lack of transparency and accountability in concessions, state contracts and others exploitation schemes of our natural resources.
- Failure to comply with commitments to provide the country with laws that confront corruption.
- The lack of transparency and accountability of all the resources used under the state of emergency due to the pandemic.
In terms of human rights, among others, freedom of expression has suffered attacks through judicial harassment of the media and journalists by political figures and access to public information has been restricted by the unjustified refusal to deliver information of a political nature in many cases. The human rights of Panamanians to the conservation of their natural resources have also been violated.
Lina Vega, president of the Foundation for the Development of Citizen Freedom, has pointed out: “there is a clear link between corruption and the lack of response from governments to the basic needs of the most vulnerable population – health, water, education, housing-, and that constitutes a violation of human rights. It is necessary to understand that fighting corruption and widespread impunity is defending democracy and the right of citizens to a dignified life”.
The FDLC-TI Panama calls on the national government to act in accordance with its commitments and promises in the fight against corruption, as reflected in the Transparency Challenge signed on January 29, 2019.
Read the original article in Spanish at La Estrella