Atiku’s visit caused US drop in TI’s corruption index rating ― Keyamo

The Director of Strategic Communications, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo, has blamed the dropped of the United States on the current Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index on the recent visit of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PPD) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the country.

Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), reacting to this development via his Twitter handle on Tuesday, said, it was the visa the US gave Atiku granting him a “special waiver” to visit the country that tainted the US image causing a drop in its ranking.

Keyamo, had, in his tweet, where he quoted the link of an AFP report entitled: “Corruption seen rising in Trump’s US: Watchdog,” wrote: “Anything that gravitates towards Atiku is always tainted with corruption. Now, the US gives him a ‘special waiver’ as a candidate to come in for a few days and see the result.”

The AFP, in its report analysing the TI’s submission on the US, described the President Donald second year presidency as a turbulent one, with issues ranging from damaging revelations in an investigation probing links between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia, to his controversial backing for a Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault.

In 2018, the US global corruption index rating slid down the rankings in what analysts had also blamed on America’s system of checks and balances which the Transparency International on Tuesday said had faced growing threats under Donald Trump’s watch.

In TI’s submission, the US lost four points to score 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, which sent the US tumbling out of the top 20 for the first time since 2011.

“The low score comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power,” TI said in its annual report.

The AFP in its report referred to Trump as a US leader, who frequently rails against the media for writing “fake news,” and also dogged by accusations of nepotism and conflicts of interest.

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The news agency said, last month, Trump agreed to close his personal charity after the New York attorney general said it had acted “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr Trump’s business and political interests”.

According to the AFP report, “Transparency International’s closely-watched index ranks 180 nations according to their perceived level of public sector corruption, where a score of zero means very corrupt and 100 signifies very clean.

“The Trump presidency has illuminated the cracks in the US system for ensuring a government that is accountable to the public interest,” TI’s Zoe Reiter, acting representative to the US, told AFP.

“But President Trump is a symptom rather than a cause; the issues were there before he took office. For example, the Office of Government Ethics simply doesn’t have the teeth to control for conflicts of interest at the highest levels,” she said.

“As in previous years, New Zealand and Nordic countries were among the best in class with Denmark narrowly beating New Zealand to the top spot at 88 and 87 points respectively.

“Strife-torn Somalia was once again the worst performer, below Yemen, South Sudan and Syria which all scored in the low teens.

“The Berlin-based watchdog also singled out Turkey and Hungary for falling down the rankings, blaming “the deterioration of rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as a rapidly shrinking space for civil society and independent media”.

“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” TI’s managing director Patricia Moreira said.

“As part of its recommendations, the group urged governments to stand up for a free press and support civil society organisations that encourage public oversight over government spending.

“The index is compiled based on data from 12 international organisations including the World Bank, African Development Bank and the World Economic Forum.”

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