TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) hopes to open an anti-corruption bureau in an effort to enhance its campaign against corruption within government agencies and local enterprises, a MOJ official said yesterday.
The remarks came one day after an international survey showed that Taiwan ranks 34th among 180 countries polled in this year’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) rating.
The survey results were released by the Taiwanese branch of Transparency International, an international non governmental organization dedicated to combating corruption.
Taiwan’s ranking remains the same as last year’s, but its grade has dropped by 0.2 point to register 5.7 out of a possible score of 10, according to Chilik Yu, executive director of the Taiwan branch.
Taiwan shares the same ranking with Macao and the United Arab Emirates, Yu told a press conference.
Taiwan’s CPI ranking is far behind that of Singapore (4th place), Hong Kong (14th), and Japan (17th), but ahead of South Korea (43rd) and China (72nd), Yu went on.
Kuan Kao-yueh, director of the MOJ’s Department of Government Employee Ethics, said that thanks to the transparency of the government’s administrative procedures, Taiwan’s middle- and low- ranking civil servants ranked in the top three places in the survey in recent years.
By contrast, high-ranking officials are easier to involve in corruption cases as they have discretionary powers, Kuan noted, while adding that the country’s lawmakers and councilors also receive low rankings in the survey.
Kuan revealed a government plan to design an anti-corruption indicator, which he said will be the first of its kind and will be calculated on the basis of governmental statistics.
The plan is still under discussions, he said, without offering more details.
In an effort to eradicate corruption within corporations, Kuan noted that the MOJ is collaborating with the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) with the aim of launching measures to encourage companies to set up internal audit departments as well as codes of conducts and ethics.
If companies do so, the FSC will raise their credit ratings and they will also be given more opportunities to take part in government procurement projects, Kuan continued.
Speaking on Taiwan’s previous CPI rankings, which fluctuated between 25th and 35th place in the last 12 years, Kuan said that the ministry has initiated various measures to combat corruption since 1993.
Noting that a draft of an anti-corruption bureau organic act has long been stalled at the Legislative Yuan, he claimed that Finland, which tops this year’s survey, saw widespread corruption in the past but was able to clean up its image after establishing an anti-corruption institute.
“Such a bureau may not provide a ‘cure-all’ solution, “ Kuan said, “However, it is worth trying.”