What's the Colour of Money?

Transparency International, an organisation that monitors corruption around the globe, recently published its annual corruption index. The Czech Republic fared badly, as it has slipped down the scale two years running. Are the Czechs corrupt, is the country sliding backward as others in the region move up the scale? Nick Carey finds out.

The annual corruption index from Transparency International ranks up to one hundred countries every year according to their level of perceived corruption. Businessmen and respected corporations, including the major accounting and auditing firms, plus leading non-governmental organisations, fill out questionnaires on their respective countries. Each country gets points out of ten, with ten being a squeaky clean country where everyone is as honest as the day is long. The 2001 corruption index, for instance, places Finland at the top with 9.9, dropping all the way down to Bangladesh in 91st place with a dismal score of 0.4.

Former Finance Minister Pavel Mertlik feels that the main thing the Czechs need now is time, for democracy and a system of ethics to take hold: