World December 19, 2015 | 12:38 pm

Venezuela, Haiti ranked most corrupt nations in the Americas

New York.– News Americas Now compiled a list of the most corrupt countries in the Americas, both the Caribbean and Latin America, based on the public perception of corruption among public and private sector officials, with 1 being the most corrupt according to data compiled from the latest Transparency International Corruption Index and the Heritage Foundations’ 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.

Venezuela and Haiti took the top place for most corrupt in the Americas according to Transparency International. Both nations have ranked at a low 19 on the TI Index for the past three years – between 2012 and 2014. Overall, on the global ranking, out of a total of 175 nations, the two scored 161. A higher score signifies the least corrupt nations where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 very clean.

In Venezuela corruption is rampant in the main oil industry. Large-scale corruption is alleged to have taken place at the state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and other state entities. Political power is concentrated in the executive, with many opportunities for corruption.

In Haiti corruption is rampant, the judicial system is ineffective and inefficient and smuggling remains a huge problem that is exacerbated by poor trade freedom. Haiti is also a major narco-trafficking transshipment point and the dysfunctional judicial system is underfunded making it open to corruption.

Ranking at number 6 on the list are Dominican Republic and Guatemala which both came in at 32 on the Americas’ TI ranks. Guatemala did not even match its 2012 score and scored 115 globally. Corruption is endemic. In 2014, former President Alfonso Portillo pleaded guilty to taking $2.5 million in Taiwanese government bribes and attempting to launder the money through U.S. banks.

In the Dominican Republic corruption is still pervasive in the economy which is exacerbated by drug trafficking in recent years, according to the report.

To see the whole top 10, visit www.newsamericasnow.com.

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