Thu, Dec 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Confidence about officials' integrity declining: survey

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The integrity of senior officials and division heads in the central government has slid noticeably this year, a survey released yesterday by the Taiwan chapter of Transparency Interna-tional (TI) showed.

The group was asked by the Ministry of Justice to conduct the survey from July 1 to July 5, and received 1,604 valid responses.

"I must praise the Ministry of Justice. Although the poll shows that the public has no faith in the government's ability to fight corruption and believes the country did not improve in terms of integrity, the ministry nonetheless agreed with TI-Taiwan about publicizing the results," Chen Chun-ming (陳俊明), the poll supervisor and a professor public policy and management department at Shih Hsin University, told a news conference yesterday.

The poll results showed that respondents feel vote-buying has become more serious this year than in the past, Chen said.

He noted that investigators said that vote buying had been a serious problem during the campaign for the Kaohsiung municipal elections.

Chen said the number of serious corruption cases involving high-ranking government officials this year might have led the public to rank the integrity of high-level government officials lower in the survey -- down to 18th from 14th last year.

Legislators were ranked last -- in 20th place -- this year in terms of integrity.

The survey found that while 72.2 percent of respondents were not happy with the government's efforts to combat corruption in general, 22.7 percent said they were satisfied.

Based on the results, 64.5 percent of respondents were unsatisfied with the government's crackdown on bribery during election campaigns, while 30.6 percent were satisfied.

The public also appeared dissatisfied with the performance of government agencies charged with combating corruption.

Some 65 percent of respondents were in favor of the formation of an independent agency to fight corruption.

Thirty-nine percent, however, were optimistic about government efforts to improve its integrity, while 46.5 percent were pessimistic.

TI is a global network of more than 90 chapters dedicated to fighting corruption. Its international secretariat is in Berlin.

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