Britain, the US and Switzerland should rank among the world’s most corrupt countries, according to a paper delivered to an economics conference at the weekend. The failure of these and other developed countries to clamp down on offshore tax havens is responsible for more hardship than any corrupt acts by third world leaders, a leading tax expert said.
“I would place the United Kingdom high on the list of most corrupt countries,” said John Christensen, formerly an adviser to the Jersey government and now director of the Tax Justice Network (taxjustice.net), speaking at the Economic Geography Research Group conference.
Fourteen prison officers at Pentonville Prison in north London have been suspended following corruption allegations.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said the officers were suspended by the prison governor.
The jail will “briefly reduce” its maximum number of inmates – at a time of record prison numbers in England and Wales – as a result of the move.
A prison service spokesman said: “The governor of HMP Pentonville has taken the decision to suspend 14 officers following allegations of corrupt behaviour.
Corruption within the Prison Service is rife, according to a leaked report which reveals that there are more than 1,000 officers involved in corrupt practices.
The report, which is the result of a one-year inquiry by the Metropolitan police and the Prison Service’s anti-corruption unit, was leaked to the BBC.
Within it are claims that the corruption ranges from officers accepting cash payments from inmates to have them transferred to less secure prisons to bringing mobile phones and drugs into prisons.
The corruption stems from “inappropriate relationships” between prisoners and staff and there are nearly 600 of these relationships occurring, according to the investigation.
The immigration system is “shot through with incompetence and corruption” and should face a full independent inquiry, says Conservative Damian Green.
It comes after newspaper reports an immigration officer was helping asylum seekers remain in Britain for cash.
Home Secretary John Reid said the claims would be investigated.
But Mr Green, the shadow immigration minister, said it was clearly not an isolated incident and there should be a full independent inquiry.
His call comes after an immigration official allegedly told an undercover Sun reporter he charged up to £2,000 for helping people to get refugee status.
He also claimed he helped asylum seekers of other nationalities pretend they were Zimbabweans because the Home Office had a ban on deporting people to Zimbabwe,
Corruption is on the increase in a majority of countries around the world, according to a study by global pressure group Transparency International.
People in 48 of the 69 countries covered in its annual Global Corruption Barometer survey said corruption had risen over the past three years.
The survey showed that taking bribes was particularly prevalent in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Political parties were the most corrupt bodies for the second year in a row.
They were followed by parliaments, police and judicial systems.
In central and eastern Europe, customs officials were seen as the most corrupt.
More than half of UK companies suffered from fraud in the past two years, losing an average of 1 million pounds each, and the most common method of detecting it was by accident, a report on Tuesday showed.
Around 55 percent of firms reported being hit by economic crime or fraud, compared with an average of 45 percent of businesses worldwide, a survey by auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers found.