From the Editor’s Keyboard

Transparency International in Major Semantics Blunder

By  | 22 July 2013 at 01:36 | 1209 views

I am beginning to be convinced Transparency International is in big trouble with their recent Barometer on Corruption report and are trying to find ways to do some damage control and if possible do another survey because the current one is disgracing them too much around the world.

Just a few days ago the head of their office here in Canada went through some tough questions on the report on Canadian TV and I felt sorry for her as she tried to explain how Canada only got a glorious 3 percent despite the fact that everyone knows there is significant corruption and bribe-giving in this country especially in the province of Quebec. As for our neighbour, the US, corruption and bribe-giving is part of life there. What is their percentage again? I don’t even want to see it.

But back to my opening statement. In a recent meeting with our Ambassador in Germany, His Excellency Jongopie Stevens, Transparency’s Director of Research denied that Sierra Leone was labelled by Transparency International as the most corrupt country among the 107 countries surveyed because his organization does not do "ranking." That’s absolute nonsense to me. You do not need to deny what you implied about my country after saying 84 percent of respondents in my country in your survey admitted to having bribed someone. It’s simple logic or semantics; your report is falsely damning my country.

I am not saying there is no corruption in Sierra Leone. Indeed I publish stories on corruption in my country almost every month. What I have a problem with is the percentage. Transparency says they did not do the survey themselves but gave the contract to Russian experts. Russians? No wonder.

Come on, Transparency, get your act together. Fire those Russians and give us a credible report.

For your information, some real statisticians and experts on statistics from my country are closely studying your report, looking at methodology (your weakest attribute), sampling and so on. Their report on your report will be published here and elsewhere soon. Wait for it.

PS:Kudos to Ambassador Jongopie Stevens for his patriotic initiative. You are a real Ambassador, Sir. Massive respect from me.