28 Sep 2007

TI warns about corruption of judiciaries in Pacific

5:00 pm on 28 September 2007

Transparency International has warned about the risk of judicial corruption in Pacific countries.

The anti-corruption body has just released its 2007 Corruption Survey which features some Pacific countries for the first time.

The survey ranks countries on their implementation of anti-corruption policies and practices.

Pacific such as Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati and Tonga are included in the rankings for the first time and most rank in the lower half of the 180 countries surveyed.

TI Australia's executive director, Michael Ahrens, says political pressures in Pacific countries can often lead to corruption in the judiciary.

He says countries like Australia and New Zealand need to work more to strengthen anti-corruption and judicial systems in neighbouring countries where graft is normalised,

"It's not necessarily being dishonest to engage in corruption in some of these countries. Now that's the real trouble, it's regarded as a perk of office to receive secret donations and so on. Now, I think all countries have it to some extent. But it just gets worse and worse in some of these countries where it becomes blatant."

Michael Ahrens