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MALTATODAY 31 July 2022

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JAMES DEBONO THE percentage of companies who think that people and busi- nesses caught bribing senior of- ficials are being appropriately punished, has decreased from 45% in 2019 to 27% now, accord- ing to a Eurobarometer survey in which 253 Maltese companies were interviewed. This 18-percentage point drop was the largest registered in any of the 27 EU member states. But while the survey suggests that a greater percentage of business owners have a per- ception of impunity, the sur- vey also shows that businesses think corruption is now less widespread than it was in 2019 when Joseph Muscat was still Prime Minister. In fact, the survey registers an eight-point drop among busi- nesses who think that corruption is widespread in public procure- ment, when com- pared to 2019. The survey shows that pres- ently only 27% of businesses believe that corruption is punished appro- priately. But the perception that corruption is not punished appro- priately is even stronger in 13 other EU mem- ber states. In Cyprus only 8% believe cor- ruption is appropriately pun- ished, in marked contrast with the EU's other minnow Luxem- bourg, where 54% believe that corruption is appropriately punished. The only countries where an absolute majority of company owners believe cor- ruption is appropriately pun- ished are Luxembourg, Den- mark and Estonia. The survey also shows that 54% of Maltese company own- ers believe corruption is very or fairly widespread in the award of tenders. The perception of corruption in public procure- ment in Malta is significantly higher than in Nordic coun- tries like Denmark, Ireland and Finland where less than a quar- ter of company owners think corruption is widespread in public procurement. But in Croatia, Portugal Greece and Cyprus more then 70% think likewise. The survey also shows that 45% of Maltese company own- ers believe that funds to polit- ical parties are given by busi- nesses in exchange for public contracts. This is 7 points more than among all companies in- terviewed in the 27 member states. In contrast, Maltese businesses are less likely to think there is nepotism and corruption within private com- panies. While 48% of compa- nies in all 27 member states believe that "favouring friends and family in business" is wide- spread, the percentage falls to 33% in Malta. When asked about corrupt practices in the award of ten- ders, 71% of Maltese com- panies believe that there are conflict of interests among ad- judicators, while 61% believe that collusive bidding is com- mon. 2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 31 JULY 2022 NEWS Two in three businesses think corruption goes unpunished Massive 18-point drop from 2019 in those who think corruption in Malta is 'appropriately punished', but less businesses would say corruption is 'widespread' Infographics show top five countries, together with EU 27 average and Malta ranking

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