UK Prime Minister David Cameron was overheard saying that “fantastically corrupt” countries such Nigeria and Afghanistan would be visiting the UK for an anti-corruption summit in London on Thursday. The comments were picked up by the Independent Television Broadcaster Tuesday while Cameron was speaking with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
The summit is aimed at stepping up global action to combat corruption in all walks of life. Describing the summit to the Queen, Cameron said, "We have got the Nigerians – actually we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain." He was then heard saying, "Nigeria and Afghanistan –possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world."
Queen Elizabeth, who steers clear of political comment, did not respond to Cameron's comment. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said, "But this particular president is actually not corrupt."
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he was "shocked and embarrassed" by the Prime Minister's remarks.
In its annual ranking of countries, Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index put Afghanistan at number 166, second from bottom.
Cameron remarked that at the summit “everything has to be open”. The Prime Minister himself has been under scrutiny after his father was mentioned in the Panama Papers leak in April, resulting in calls for his resignation. It was not clear whether Cameron realized he was being filmed and recorded at the event, which marked the queen's 90th birthday.