The Southeast Asian nation, which is also known as Myanmar, saw major changes in 2012. After decades of military rule, the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein has started reform the economy and has also freed some political prisoners. Opposition representatives, among them democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, now sit in Burma’s parliament and tourists are flooding the country, bringing much-needed foreign capital.
But corruption persists. In November, President Thein Sein ordered his government’s ministries to repay money embezzled by their employees. More than $230,000 had been outright stolen from the government by its employees in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Nearly $70 million was “misused”, according to the government’s own auditor general. In September, one of the country’s leading weeklies, The Voice, faced a defamation lawsuit after reporting the auditor general’s findings.