Corruption
Introduction
Hardly a single day passes without a corruption story breaking out in the media. Every one of us has been a victim of corruption, directly or indirectly. We condemn it vehemently, talk against it in public forums, but unfortunately at the end of the day most of us compromise with it. Corruption is an assault on conscience. The habit of taking bribes and seeking favours has become very common. People holding important positions have developed inconsiderateness to their conscience.

Corruption constitutes a serious problem for many countries around the globe. Common forms of corrupt acts include nepotism, bribery and extortion. In certain contexts corruption is culturally accepted. Bureaucratic corruption is encouraged by the traditional offering of gifts or bribes to officials in some countries. Corruption can take the form of abuse of authority and manipulation of resources. In the developing world, such acts take place on a large scale amongst powerful political leaders and business executives. There is the perception that ruling parties hold monopoly power and there is no political will to fight corruption in developing nations. Corruption can be cost-reducing or benefit-enhancing to the briber; it can be briber-initiated or bribee-initiated.

While corruption tends to be associated with fundamental problems generated by colonialism, this position can be challenged. Some parts of the world have for long experienced corrupt practices although the instigators of corruption were not necessarily denounced. There is a perception that corruption has a positive impact on growth as corruption helps grease the wheels of commerce. Yet there is evidence that corruption hinders economic and social development. World institutions like the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank and Transparency International are concerned about the seriousness of the matter. Although there is evidence that monetary incentives are essential for economic growth, it is the duty of every responsible government to ensure that a minimum standard of ethics be observed in this attempt to secure growth and development.

Corruption is a multifaceted phenomenon supported by differing historical and socio-economic conditions in each country. It exists at all levels of society. Although in the past it could have been considered a largely domestic issue, corruption now often transcends national boundaries. Its consequences are global; its hidden costs immense.

Corruption is a manifestation of institutional weakness, poor ethical standards, skewed incentives and insufficient enforcement.When corrupt officials slowly drain the resources of a country, its potential to develop socially and to attract foreign investment is diminished, making it incapable of providing basic services to or enforcing the rights of its citizens.

Furthermore, corruption fuels transnational crime. Terrorists and organized criminals could not carry out their illegal activities without the complicity of corrupt public officials. It threatens security and damages trust in systems which affect people’s daily lives. It is a particular concern for the world’s police and judicial systems, as corruption in one country can compromise an entire international investigation.

Transparency International’s 2006 report shows that corruption is rampant despite improved legislation and counter efforts. More than US$1 trillion is paid in bribes alone each year, according to a World Bank Institute report – compared to the estimated size of the world economy at that time of just over US$30 trillion.

Anti-corruption agreements constitute highly valuable tools for organizations, companies or citizens concerned with corruption and its impact on good governance. By establishing an international framework, the treaties can help foster a high-level of political commitment, suggest legal measures that countries could take and establish a programme of international and regional co-operation.

Country Rank

Country / Territory

2008 CPI Score

Country Rank

Country / Territory

2008 CPI Score

1

Denmark

9.3

171

Congo, Democratic Republic

1.7

1

New Zealand

9.3

171

Equatorial Guinea

1.7

1

Sweden

9.3

173

Chad

1.6

4

Singapore

9.2

173

Guinea

1.6

5

Finland

9.0

173

Sudan

1.6

5

Switzerland

9.0

176

Afghanistan

1.5

7

Iceland

8.9

177

Haiti

1.4

7

Netherlands

8.9

178

Iraq

1.3

9

Australia

8.7

178

Myanmar

1.3

9

Canada

8.7

180

Somalia

1.0

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