Bosnia and Herzegovina has made no recent progress in its struggle against rampant corruption, the Bosnian branch of Transparency International, TI, reports.
TI presented its findings at a Sarajevo press conference on Thursday.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has not achieved progress in implementing anti-corruption reforms and, unfortunately […] it is perceived as the most corrupt country in the region,” said Emir Djikic, chair of the TI Board of Directors in Bosnia.
Transparency International has been monitoring anti-corruption activities in most sensitive areas, including the progress of legislative and executive authorities in implementing anti-corruption measures and in processing corruption cases in the courts.
TI has also kept an eye on legislative changes and on the implementation of laws on conflict of interests, the financing of political parties and the Election Law. It has also looked at the functioning of public sector auditing agencies, police and security-intelligence agencies, and at changes in the Public Procurement Law.
Across this broad spectrum, Bosnia “has not accomplished any progress in fighting against corruption,” TI claims.
The TI research found that Bosnians believe that corruption is most prevalent in the privatization process and in the functioning of political parties.
Respondents said that doctors and other medical workers are still the most likely to solicit bribes, including money, gifts or favours. Police officers came second in the corruption stakes. Those spoken to by researchers said they gave medical staff 124 euros and police 14 euros on average. University professors reportedly demand the highest average bribes, 219 euros.
Most also emphasised the problem of corruption in employment procedures, TI said that it is alarming that up to 57 per cent of those surveyed personally knew someone who was employed through connections or nepotism in a municipal, cantonal, entity or state institution, organisation or public company.
A majority of respondents think that the law on conflict of interests is ineffective, and only half had heard of the law on freedom of access to information, TI said.
Concluding, the TI report expressed the organisations’ hope that “citizens’ views will finally influence government representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take […] corruption more seriously and truly engage in solving this problem.”