Corruption is on the increase in a majority of countries around the world, according to a study by global pressure group Transparency International.
People in 48 of the 69 countries covered in its annual Global Corruption Barometer survey said corruption had risen over the past three years.
The survey showed that taking bribes was particularly prevalent in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Political parties were the most corrupt bodies for the second year in a row.
They were followed by parliaments, police and judicial systems.
In central and eastern Europe, customs officials were seen as the most corrupt.
Transparency International’s (TI) survey is timed to coincide with the United Nations’ global Anti-Corruption Day.
It found that in 13 countries more than 50% of respondents said corruption had increased a lot over the past three years – Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Israel, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines and Venezuela.
Only six countries said it had decreased – Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Kenya and Singapore.
TI said corruption also extended to the education system of many countries, and that this could have a detrimental effect on their future development.
Its chairwoman Huguette Labelle said corruption was “a major problem of our times”.
“Its most deadly impact is on the poor,” said Ms Labelle.
“If people are pessimistic, they will not feel they can do anything about it.
“The results of this survey are a call for alarm for people.
“It can change, but it requires leadership, will and pressure.”
People in Africa appeared to pay the most in bribes, the report found, with Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria the worst.
Households in these three countries spend more than 20% of their income on paying bribes, the survey found.