Egypt was ranked 108th of 176 countries reviewed in the Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index published on Wednesday.
The perception of the extent of corruption in Egypt compared to that of other countries worsened in 2016, as the country fell in Transparency International’s rankings from its previous position of 88th of 168 in the 2015 report and 94 of 175 in 2014.
The anti-corruption organization published an accompanying report on the Middle East and North Africa titled “Middle East and North Africa: A Very Drastic Decline,” in which Transparency International’s Kinda Hattar wrote that Egypt is suffering from corruption due to “the absence of a real political will to fight it,” highlighting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s dismissal of the country’s top auditor Hisham Geneina from his position in 2016.
While corruption is widely acknowledged as a problem in Egypt — most recently during Sisi’s speech commemorating the January 25 revolution in which he vowed that the state is committed to its “war on corruption” — how it is dealt with can take various forms.
On January 2 former State Council General Secretary Judge Wael Shalaby committed suicide in his cell after the Administrative Control Authority implicated him in a corruption case. He was accused of accepting a bribe, illegal profiteering and the misappropriation of public funds.
Critics of the State Council bribery case have questioned the timing of the authority’s announcement, highlighting that it emerged during a conflict between the judiciary and the government.
In other instances, the government has pursued reconciliation deals with former President Hosni Mubarak-era officials who had been implicated in cases of corruption, placing a general question mark around the state’s anti-corruption rhetoric.
Transparency International also published a non-regional report titled “Corruption and inequality: How populists mislead people” that tries to frame the Corruption Perception Index in terms of income inequality and the rise of populist governments in several places in the world.
“The interplay of corruption and inequality also feeds populism. When traditional politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical. Increasingly, people are turning to populist leaders who promise to break the cycle of corruption and privilege,” Transparency International’s Finn Heinrich wrote.
Transparency international defines the Corruption Perceptions Index as an aggregate of data from different sources that “provide perceptions of business people and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector,” adding that low scores mean the countries have “untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary,” in addition to evasion and neglect of anti-corruption laws and the proliferation of bribery and extortion.
Basic services in low-scoring countries suffer from misappropriated funding and “confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take.”