10 most corrupt countries, ranked by perception

Corruption is often in the eye of the beholder, largely dependent on individual beliefs about right and wrong.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is perceived to be the most corrupt among 80 countries evaluated, according to data from the 2017 Best Countries rankings, a characterization based on a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens. This is the second year in a row it took the No. 1 spot.

In the survey, respondents answered how closely they related each of the 80 countries to the term "corrupt." Respondents were given no further specifications of the term, so interpretation of the word "corrupt" was left to survey respondents.

Elections in Nigeria face scrutiny, even though government accountability is seen as having improved. In 2015, President Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari became the first opposition party candidate to win an election. As part of his presidential campaign, Buhari promised to crack down on corruption.

"When you fight corruption, it fights back," Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said in a TedX talk in Berlin.

Recently, Bala James Ngilari became the first senior government official to be successfully prosecuted since Buhari was elected, according to the Associated Press.

Ngilari served as governor of Nigeria's Adamawa state, an area deeply influenced by Boko Haram, an extremist group that began its conquest in 2009 to create an Islamic state. He received a five-year prison term for improperly awarding a $1 billion-dollar contract to buy vehicles, AP reports.

Iran, seen as the fourteenth most powerful country in the world, is also viewed as the second most corrupt. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan – a country accused of knowingly harboring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – places third on the corruption index.

Above are the 10 countries perceived to be the most corrupt, according to data from the 2017 Best Countries rankings.