Saturday, 25 July 2009


Corruption is bad for any country. It prevents growth by diverting funds, scaring foreign investment and encourages educated citizens to leave so as not to be also considered part of a corrupt state. The corrupt allocation of natural resources will lead to the depletion of these resources to the detriment of all citizens. It breaks the trust between the people and its government. Most importantly is puts in doubt the ability of the government, civil service and all politicians. In other words it endangers our democracy and the rule of law.

Study proves corruption is less profitable
“Not only do you get punished by God for corruption, now we know you get punished on earth too”, said one of the readers of a recent study on corruption.

A recent study on ethics in business shows that companies that have high ethical standards and behaviour are more profitable than their competitors. Suppliers and customers alike prefer working with a company where the “rules are clear” and business decisions cannot be influenced by employees.

Most politicians bend the laws of the land and steal money or solicit bribes because they need the funds to support networks of patronage. Others do it in order to reward their nearest and dearest or to maintain a lavish lifestyle when their political lives are over. A solution is to ensure that upon retirement, a politician is able to sustain their lifestyle through a regular pension payout. Of course, effective policing and long jail terms also provide deterrents.

Effective Programme against Corruption
To be effective, an anti-corruption programme must:
  1. Persecute corrupt high profile public officials in public and private institutions, and even multinational companies. (the so-called “big fish”)
  2. Investment in educating the public and government officials to encourage “civic pride”;
  3. Liberalising and deregulating the economy. The less “red tape” or licensing procedures, the less the likelihood of corrupt practices to “facilitate business”.
  4. Strengthening of the institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Commission, Police, Customs, the Courts and the Tax Authorities.

The best solution to corruption remains a policy of no secrets. This means free, accessible, and available information circulated and discussed by opposition parties, free press, trade unions, business organisations and NGO’s. Without this, the fight against corruption is doomed to failure. With them it stands a chance.