TRANSPARENCY International have slammed Spain for its ‘systemic corruption’.
In a statement released yesterday, the international corruption watchdog said ‘few aspects of public life in the country have remained exempt’ from corruption.
Spain has seen one of the fastest declines on the body’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, sliding seven points since 2012, now scoring worse than most Western European democracies with 58.
“Corruption in Spain distorts policy making and hurts people’s basic rights for the benefit of a few. Just looking at recent scandals like the Pujol case in Catalonia, the linkages between the ruling People’s Party and the construction group OHL, the Gürtel case, the Bankia fraud and Rodrigo Rato, gives a sense of the scale of the problem,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
“This does not need to remain this way. Spain has the democratic maturity, the institutions and a vibrant population and can reverse this trend and stand up to corruption, including grand corruption,” added Ugaz
The body has called on the Spanish government to act immediately, saying that its first move should be to reverse the appointment of the anti-corruption prosecutor who has been called into question due to his links to the Partido Popular.
Ugaz added: “The institutional and legal infrastructure for preventing corruption and punishing corrupt acts needs to be improved in dialogue between the government, political forces and civil society.
“It is urgent that the judiciary operate in a professional manner, free of political intervention, so we can start seeing timely and effective sanctions for those responsible for corruption.”