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Open to bribery

PUBLIC WORKS and construction are the sectors in which public officials are most likely to accept bribes, according to a Gallup International Association survey commissioned by Transparency International.

The Berlin-based anti-corruption lobby carried out the study last year to find which exporting countries bribe most to win contracts in emerging economies.

The 1999 TI bribe payers' index shows the UK as seventh least likely to pay bribes in the league of 19 exporting countries. Sweden was least likely and China most likely.

The emerging economies where Gallup questioned business leaders are India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

However, the poll left out the Middle East and particularly Saudi Arabia - countries with substantial arms imports and a reputation for inflated commissions. This may have skewed the results away from the defence sector and inflated the charges against construction.

TI's annual corruption perception index now covers 99 countries. Last year the UK was placed 13th least corrupt, just behind Denmark but way ahead of bottom nation Cameroon.

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