The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of the Maldives released its 2023 national corruption perception survey results on Thursday, coinciding with International Anti-Corruption Day. 

The survey underscores a deep-seated lack of confidence among the Maldivian populace in the state’s capability to address national issues, with 67% expressing doubt in the state’s problem-solving aptitude. 64% believe corruption in the Maldives has escalated in the past three years, while 28% view it as unchanged.

Corruption is perceived as the primary challenge facing the nation, with 56% of respondents identifying it as the main issue, followed by drug trafficking (33%) and unemployment (27%). The majority of this perception emanates from the 25-34 age group. 

Parliament and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are deemed the most corrupt institutions, with 75% of respondents perceiving high levels of corruption in these areas.

The survey also explored confidence in the Anti-Corruption Commission’s effectiveness. Opinions are divided, with 47% believing the ACC has not acted against corruption, while 48% recognise its efforts in combating the issue in recent years.

Contributing factors to corruption, as perceived by respondents, include a lack of integrity and personal values, institutional ineffectiveness, policy loopholes, and weaknesses in the legal system. 

Among elected representatives, politicians, and public officials, corrupt practices such as influence peddling, patronage, and accepting bribes are frequently observed. Law enforcement and the judiciary are not exempt, with discrepancies in prosecution and exertion of undue pressure noted as common corrupt practices.

The survey’s findings are a stark reminder of the challenges facing the Maldives in its fight against corruption. With more than 70% of respondents considering Parliament, SOEs, and government ministries as primary perpetrators of corruption, the need for robust and effective measures to combat this menace is more urgent than ever.

The survey conducted through computer-assisted telephone interviews with 722 individuals, highlighted alarming perspectives on corruption and governance. Of the respondents, 51% were male and 49% female, representing a diverse geographical spread across the country.