Bangladesh has scored an "E" grade on Transparency International's Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI), the world's leading assessment of corruption risks in government defence institutions.
Publishing the GDI 2020 on Tuesday, the organisation said Bangladesh's institutional capacity to fight corruption in the defence sector is "extremely weak."
In a press statement, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said, corruption risk is very high in Bangladesh's defence sector. Owing to limited external oversight, a lack of transparency and weak civilian control, risks are particularly pronounced in procurement, finances and policymaking.
But the personnel management standards in the country are stronger and include some anti-corruption provisions, the statement said.
The index was formulated by analysing the five risk areas of a country's defence sector – political, financial, personnel, operational, and procurement – based on 212 indicators.
The index categorised the number obtained by a country – on a scale of 0 to 100 – to A to F. Countries belonging to band A have the lowest risk and those belonging to F has the highest risk.
With an overall score of 25, Bangladesh belongs to band "E" with a "very high" risk of corruption in the defence sector.
Among the five risk areas, Bangladesh secured the highest score in military personnel management (score 52) and the lowest in terms of operational risk (0). In political risk, Bangladesh scored 26 and in the risk of corruption in military procurement, the country scored 29.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, the executive director, TIB, said while the index does not suggest that corruption prevails in the defence sector of Bangladesh, it [the index] identifies the high-risk areas for corruption in the country's defence sector.
Therefore, he said, it is imperative to streamline the country's defence sector to strengthen the anti-corruption capacity.
According to the Government Defence Integrity Index, some 62% countries of the 86 countries included in the report, are at high to critical risk of corruption in the defence sector.
With a score of 85, New Zealand has the lowest risk of corruption in the defence sector followed by the United Kingdom and Norway (with a score of 76), and Belgium and Netherlands (with a score of 73).
On the other hand, Sudan, with a score of 5, has the highest risk of corruption in the defence sector, followed by Egypt (with a score of 6), Myanmar and Algeria (with a score of 8) and Iraq (with a score of 9).
Transparency International said the countries with the lowest scores have weak to nonexistent corruption defence mechanisms and the countries are often unstable, conflict-ridden, and the citizens of these countries are victims of exploitation.
The press statement said analysis of the Government Defence Integrity Index shows that a 1% increase in military expenditure in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) means a decrease of five points in the GDI which suggests that military spending may play a key role in weak governance.
TI said it is "disappointing" that global military spending now stands at $2 trillion annually, increasing the level and scale of corruption.
The GDI data further showed that between 2016 – 2020, 86% of the global arms trade came from countries with moderate to critical risk of corruption in their defence sector. The top five arms exporting countries are the United States (GDI score: 55), Russia (GDI score: 36), France (GDI score: 50), Germany (GDI score: 70), and China (GDI score: 28) and these five countries control 76% of the global arms trade, according to the TI statement.
On the other hand, 49% of the world's total arms imports go to countries with a high to critical risk of corruption in the defence sector, according to TI analysis.