Turk­ish Cypriot busi­nesses be­lieve cor­rup­tion is rife in north

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

An over­whelm­ing 89% Turk­ish Cypriot busi­ness peo­ple be­lieve that bribery and cor­rup­tion are rife in the north of Cyprus, ac­cord­ing to the first ever re­port of its kind.

Fur­ther­more, 56% be­lieved that it got worse in 2017 com­pared to a year ear­lier and 48% said that “di­ver­sion of pub­lic funds to com­pa­nies, in­di­vid­u­als or groups due to cor­rup­tion” was very com­mon or com­mon.

When asked if there is “a tra­di­tion of pay­ment of bribes to se­cure con­tracts and gain favours,” 43% said that this was very com­mon or com­mon, while only 14% said that it was very rare or rare.

The Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion re­port – by Omer Gokcekus - Ser­tac So­nan - is based on a sur­vey con­ducted with busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives who held an ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tion at one of the mem­bers of the Turk­ish Cypriot Cham­ber of Com­merce.

In the study, cor­rup­tion is de­fined as the abuse of en­trusted power for pri­vate gain.

“It is pos­si­ble to say that cor­rup­tion is most com­mon in the al­lo­ca­tion of credit and land,” said the re­port.

The in­volve­ment of high-level civil ser­vants and politi­cians in cor­rup­tion is an­other com­mon per­cep­tion.

“Re­spon­dents ex­pressed their se­ri­ous doubts about the in­de­pen­dence and ef­fec­tive­ness of fi­nan­cial au­dit­ing in­sti­tu­tions, and ju­di­ciary in de­ter­ring cor­rup­tion. It is con­cern­ing to see that so­cial me­dia are found to be more de­ter­ring than the courts.”

The ag­gre­gate cor­rup­tion per­cep­tion score of the north­ern part of Cyprus has been cal­cu­lated as 40 out of 100 — the same as Turkey’s score but way below the score of the Repub­lic of Cyprus which was 57 on the Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional in­dex.

When asked how com­mon it is for firms to make un­doc­u­mented ex­tra pay­ments or bribes con­nected with busi­ness, 63% said “al­lo­ca­tion of land and sim­i­lar in­cen­tives” was iden­ti­fied as the most cor­rupt and “im­ports and ex­ports” as the least cor­rupt area with 29%.

Some 62% of the re­spon­dents think “pub­lic funds are mis­ap­pro­pri­ated by min­is­ters/pub­lic of­fi­cials for pri­vate or their party’s po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.”

Politi­cians (67%) and po­lit­i­cal par­ties (62%) were seen as the two groups which were most deeply in­volved in cor­rup­tion closely fol­lowed by high level civil ser­vants (60%). Although 53% of the re­spon­dents ex­pressed the view that clear pro­ce­dures and ac­count­abil­ity gov­ern­ing the al­lo­ca­tion and use of pub­lic funds were in place, when asked “is there an in­de­pen­dent body au­dit­ing the man­age­ment of pub­lic fi­nances,” the rate went down to 40%.

The courts are not rated any bet­ter: When asked how ef­fec­tive the courts were in prevent­ing pub­lic of­fi­cials from abus­ing their of­fices for their per­sonal/pri­vate in­ter­est, only 28% per­ceived the courts to be very ef­fec­tive.

The trust of re­spon­dents in ‘mech­a­nisms de­signed to de­ter pub­lic of­fi­cials from abus­ing their of­fices for their pri­vate in­ter­ests’ also turned out to be quite low; only 10%-23% be­lieved they were ef­fec­tive.

On the suc­cess of in­sti­tu­tions, which are sup­posed to fight or ex­pose cor­rup­tion, the sur­vey re­sults drew a bleak pic­ture with so­cial me­dia more trusted than any other au­thor­ity or in­sti­tu­tion.

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