China and India have been clubbed together as countries with defence sectors prone to high corruption risk in a new report by global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI).
One of the major problems faced by China is the lack of legislative scrutiny and parliamentary debate, the report, the first of its kind by TI on the defence sector, said.
“Many countries do not audit secret budgets. Lack of meaningful scrutiny in China is a notable problem: highly centralised structures ensure a wealth of regulation in the defence sector, but the concentration of power itself creates corruption risk,” the TI report, available on the group’s website, said.
China’s People's Liberation Army, including the air force and navy, has 2.3 million personnel. Its officially declared defence spending rose 11.2% to 670 billion Yuan ($108 billion) in 2012.
Neither China nor India applies corruption risk assessment in the sector as a regular practice, the report said.
Another area of concern is the absence of private military contractors, the watchdog said.
“Most countries in this group do not use private military contractors – although regulations to ensure strong controls if they are used are almost universally lacking. Kuwait, China, Jordan,
Ethiopia, and Rwanda show high corruption risk in this area,” the report said.
The report assessed risk factors in 82 countries and China along with India falls in the broad group D – or high risk countries – category. The countries were divided into bands of groups between A (the best in terms of having measures in place to tackle corruption) to F, the worst performing countries in eradicating corruption.
The report has been released at a time when Xi Jinping, President-in-waiting and general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has been vocal about tackling corruption and putting in place austerity measures to cut down wasteful spending.
The problem is that the Chinese military is “a closed system”, AFP quoted Kevin Yeh, director of Transparency International's Taiwan chapter, as having said at the report’s release earlier this week.
“The military and the party have greater power than the executive branch of the government,” said Yeh
Australia and Germany made it to the top of the rankings. A number of African countries, including Angola, Cameroon and Egypt were at the bottom.