Macedonians Pay Up to €1 Billion in Bribes
Official anti-corruption bodies in Macedonia are not doing enough to combat corruption, which is costing citizens up to €1 billion in bribes, says a non-governmental anti-corruption organization.
More work needs to be done to combat a culture of bribery, the NGO, Transparency Macedonia, said in a report released last week.
“The findings of the State Statistical Office show that Macedonians each year pay about a billion Euro in bribes sought from them,” said the watchdog’s executive director, Ana Janevska-Deleva.
This is a significant sum, which is almost half of the former Yugoslav country’s state budget of €2.3 billion. It is not clear how the figure was calculated. The report called on the country’s Prosecution, State Audit Office and State Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and prosecute instances of graft.
The document draws on a 2010 report by the State Audit Office, which said that one-third of the €1.5 billion public procurement projects inspected that year had been deemed potentially corrupt.
Moreover, says the NGO, neither prosecutors nor official anti-corruption bodies launched any investigations or pressed charges related to these irregularities.
Macedonia ranked 69 on Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, alongside Ghana, Samoa, and Italy.
Citizens of the southern Balkan country pay the highest bribes in the region for access to public services: €470 annually, according to a 2011 study by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.