Bangladesh slipped one notch to rank the 13th most corrupt country in the world in 2015, according to the global corruption index of Transparency International.
The country slid one position from the bottom in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) though its score remained unchanged at 25 out of 100 as in 2014, shows the CPI 2015 released globally by the Berlin-based graft watchdog yesterday.
The TI Bangladesh shared the findings of the global survey at a press conference at its office in the capital's Dhanmondi.
Bangladesh, however, moved up six positions to 139th from the top of the index among 168 countries surveyed, as seven countries whose scores were better than it were not included in the list, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, unveiling the report.
Bangladesh ranked 145th among 175 countries surveyed in 2014 for prevalence of corruption, arranged from least corrupt to worst corrupt. The country with the highest score is the least corrupt and sits at the top of the index.
"I am not satisfied with our position. We think we could have done better in the index as we have the capacity to curb corruption," said the TIB executive director.
The factors that prevented Bangladesh from doing better include non-fulfilment of government's commitment to curb corruption, attempt to curtail effectiveness and independence of the Anti-Corruption Commission and little prospect of justice in high-profile corruption cases relating to Destiny, Rana Plaza, Sonali Bank, Basic Bank and share market scams, he said.
Bangladesh was at the bottom of the TI scale for five years from 2001 to 2005. The country started doing better in the following years with its score rising, especially from 2010 to 2013, he said.
"But we could not keep the upward trend. If that had happened, we would have been able to reach the global average of 43," Iftekharuzzaman said.
The Berlin-based global civil society group, which campaigns against corruption, has been publishing the report every year since 1995. Bangladesh was included in the index in 2001.
The index is based on perceived level of corruption in public sectors and misuse of public office or position.
Denmark scored the highest, 91, to top the 2015 list of least corrupt countries, followed by Finland and New Zealand scoring 90 and 89. North Korea and Somalia jointly became the worst corrupt, scoring only eight.
Of the 168 countries, 114 scored below 50 and 107 scored less than the global average of 43, indicating that corruption remains a serious global problem, said Iftekharuzzaman.
Singapore is the only Asian country to be on the top-10 performers list. It scored 85.
In South Asia, Bangladesh remains the second most corrupt country after Afghanistan.
Bhutan made a steady and remarkable progress in curbing corruption and topped the list of South Asian countries with a score of 65.
India ranked 76 with a score of 38, while Pakistan ranked 117, scoring 27, two points higher than Bangladesh.
TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal said, "We may take relief from the fact that Bangladesh's score didn't fall… it remained static. But we cannot sit on that."
Bangladesh is still far away from achieving the global average score. It wouldn't be acceptable if the country stays in the same position, she said.
Iftekharuzzaman said Bangladesh's low score shows that the extent of corruption in the country is still worrying.
He said unabated grabbing of land, rivers and water bodies, illegal money transfer to other countries and some government quarters' denial of corruption might have contributed to Bangladesh's static position.
"We hope Bangladesh's position would change." But for that, there has to be practical application of the government's political will to curb corruption, he said.
The government has to ensure that those who indulge in corruption will not enjoy impunity, said the TIB executive director.
"People should get the message that anyone indulging in corruption will have to face trial," he said.
To make it happen, the TIB suggested strengthening parliament and other institutions.
"Apart from making laws and speaking on people's behalf, parliament will have to work actively to hold the government accountable."
The government has to create a congenial environment so that institutions such as the ACC can work independently and neutrally, he said.
Iftekharuzzaman also stressed the need for enforcing the Right to Information Act and creating space for the media, civil society, NGOs and people at large for upgrading Bangladesh's status in the CPI.
TIB Trustee M Hafizuddin Khan said the situation will change if parliamentary standing committees become effective and the opposition parties play their due role in parliament.
Bangladesh's rating in corruption perception this year is based on findings gathered from seven globally-reputable survey sources against a minimum requirement of three, he said.
No data generated by any of TI's local chapter was considered for the analysis or global rating.
The surveys, used for rating Bangladesh, included Economist Intelligence Unit-Country Risk Assessment, World Economic Forum-Executive Opinion Survey, World Bank-Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, World Justice Project-Rule of Law Index, PRS International Country Risk Guide, Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index and IHS Global Insight Country Risk Ratings.
The analysis was based on data collected between February 2013 and August 2015.