Lifestyle & Belief

The most corrupt countries 2012 (PHOTOS)


Al-Qaeda linked al-shabab recruits walk down a street in Mogadishu following their graduation.



If you're reading this list of corrupt countries, there's only a slight chance that you live among the world's top 10 offenders.

But few live under a government that's uncorrupted.

Some 70 percent of the world is seen as more corrupt than good, according to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released Wednesday.

The index is the work of Transparency International, a Berlin-based graft watchdog group, ranking 176 countries by perceived public sector corruption. The group draws on assessments from a variety of sources including the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit and Transparency International's own Bribe Payers Survey.

Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan shared the most corrupt country title with scores of 8 (the lower the number, the more corrupt). Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for the least dishonorable spot with a corruption ranking of 90. See the full report at the bottom or download the full data set here.

Here are the index's 2012 most corrupt nations.


1. Somalia

CPI score: 8

From pirates, radical Islamist militants and corrupt officials, Somalia has it all. Although Somalia is slowly opening up to business, it has a long road to rid itself of deep-seated corruption.


1. North Korea

CPI score: 8

The Hermit Kingdom has a longstanding record of dreadful human rights, including prison camps where they allegedly test chemical weapons on inmates.


1. Afghanistan

CPI score: 8

Life isn't easy in this tribal nation — especially for its women. Violence against them has reached its highest levels since the fall of the Taliban. Describing the Afghan countryside, a furniture salesman recently told GlobalPost that "even small social disputes are resolved by the Taliban. Local people do not go to the government because the government is helpless."


2. Sudan

CPI score: 13

Ethnic cleansing, anti-government riots, and territorial conflicts plague this east African country. 

YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Myanmar

CPI score: 15 

Despite all the recent fanfare Myanmar (also known as Burma) garnered for its recent reforms, much is left to be desired. “The country still has a long way to go as it remains at the very bottom of the CPI,” Samantha Grant Transparency International's Southeast Asia coordinator told the press.


4. Uzbekistan

CPI score: 17

Secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010 revealed that the former Soviet country is "rampantly corrupt."


4. Turkmenistan

CPI score: 17

Turkmenistan's political culture is rife with shady business. For starters, the government isn't required to release its complete national budget and the president reportedly uses public funds at his own discretion.

MARIO TAMA/AFP/Getty Images.

5. Iraq

CPI score: 18

You know it's bad when the US embassy sets up its own anti-corruption office to provide assistance. Corruption is endemic in Iraq, where state security forces buy power, falsely arrest people then torture them and extort their families for their release, the Guardian reported.

PEDRO REY/AFP/Getty Images.

6. Venezuela

CPI score: 19

President Hugo Chavez recently won re-election to a sixth term. So far he's done little to stop graft and that's not expected to change by the end of what will be nearly two decades of rule. Sometimes his government's efforts to clean up have crossed the line: a judge arrested on questionable charges who claims she was raped in prison is a case in point, rights groups say.


6. Haiti

CPI score: 19

This island nation isn't new to corruption lists. It had the unfortunate honor of being ranked the most corrupt nation by the Index in 2006. Despite receiving billions of dollars in assistance, the country is still marked by crumbling buildings, shoddy infrastructure and crime.