Worldwide Corruption Report: How Does Panama Rank?




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Transparency International, which is a global coalition against corruption group, just released their “Corruption Perceptions Index of 2013” on December 3, 2013. This corruption report provides the public’s perception levels of the amount of corruption existing in their respective 177 countries and territories around the world. Denmark and New Zealand are tied for 1st with scores of 91 out of a possible 100.  The lowest rankings went to a tie for last place between Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea with scores of only 8 between them. The corruption rankings are calculated on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). No country was given a perfect 100, and two-thirds of the countries scored below 50.

Panama is tied at 102nd place with Ecuador and Moldova, each with scores of 35. While this is not a top ranking, Panama is taking steps towards achieving more transparency in its government operations and public perception.

Worldwide Corruption Perceptions Index – hover over countries to see rankings

Panama Takes Steps to Decrease Corruption

The Panamanian government on April 2nd, 2013 created a new agency called The Council of Transparency Against Corruption which is under the Ministry of the Presidency. Roberto Henriquez, who is the Minister of the Presidency, along with Abigail Benzadon’s assistance, developed this new agency. The very idea of a Central American government creating an entity to increase transparency to combat corruption is very new as no other countries in the region has such a government entity.

Access to government information is another area in which the Panama government is achieving with the creation of a new National Transparency and Access to Information entity which will operate independently and with full autonomy. The agency will be decentralized, exercising its functions with strict compliance protecting citizens rights under Panama’s Constitution thereby allowing increased access to government information. This Authority will also ensure compliance with international conventions, treaties, and agreements regarding combating corruption on an international scale and programs to prevent corruption.

Panama, like many Central and Latin American countries, has had a bad reputation for open corruption for many years. Now Panama is taking steps with the current administration of President Martinelli to change not only the public’s perception of government corruption but to also make it easier for the public to gain access to government documents and information.

In regards to the question, “How does Panama Rank in the worldwide corruption report”, it can now be said that with President Martinelli’s new initiatives that Panama will be rising in the ranks of future reports as Panama embarks on creating more transparency in government affairs while its citizens can gain easier access to government information and documents.

About Manoj Chatlani


Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, Panama Offshore Legal Services offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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