Corruption in the public sector

Topics: Political corruption, Politics, Government Pages: 11 (3670 words) Published: October 5, 2013
Corruption is regarded as a complex problem to solve or refer solutions to. Corruption may be taken to include those modes of employing money to attain private ends by political means which are criminal or at least illegal, because they induce persons charged with a public duty to transgress that duty and misuse the functions assigned to them (Heidenheimer, 1989). The aim of this paper is to identify the key features of corruption. It also establishes why public sector corruption is regarded as a problem especially for the developing countries. It is however necessary before identifying the major features of corruption, to have a lucid definition of it. The UN’s Global Programme against Corruption defines corruption as “the abuse of power for private gain”, and it includes both the public and the private sector. Many different definitions or understandings of corruption, however, exist that generate debate among legal, academic and policy-maker circles. Corruption could also be the inducement (as of a political official) by means of improper consideration to commit a violation of duty (Klitgaard, 1998). While the issue is largely legal in nature, in many countries it also adopts a degree of political significance. There are different types of corruption namely; political, economic, social corruption. However the most commonly known or encountered forms of corruption are described below: • Grand and Petty corruption: Grand corruption pervades the highest levels of a nation’s government, resulting in an erosion of confidence in good governance, the rule of law and economic and political stability. Petty corruption involves the exchange of very small amounts of money, the conceding of minor favours or the employment of friends and relatives in minor positions. • Bribery: Bribery refers to the bestowing of a benefit, usually a monetary payment, to improperly influence the outcome of an action or decision. The practice can be initiated by those seeking to solicit bribes or those offering one, and is probably the most common form of corruption to occur. • Active and passive corruption: In considering transactional offences such as bribery, the term “active” may refer to the offering or paying out of the bribe, while a “passive” bribe is one that has been received. • Embezzlement, theft and fraud embezzlement: Theft and fraud involve the taking or conversion of money, property or valuable items by those who are not entitled to them but, by virtue of their position or employment, have access to them. The terms embezzlement and theft refer to cases in which property is taken by those to whom it was entrusted. Fraud, on the other hand, involves the use of false or misleading information to induce the owner of the property to relinquish it voluntarily. • Extortion: Extortion relies on coercion to induce cooperation, such as the threat or use of violence or the release of incriminating information. In cases of extortion, the victims are not only the public interest and individuals adversely affected by corrupt practices, but also the individual being coerced into cooperation. • Abuse of discretion: Some cases of corruption involve an abuse of discretion, vested in an individual, for personal gain. For example, a government employee involved in contracting may exercise the discretion to purchase goods or services from a company in which he or she holds a personal interest. • Favouritism, nepotism and clientelism favouritism: Nepotism and clientelism all involve the abuse of discretion. Such abuses, however, are driven not by the self-interests of the abusing individual or group, but the interests of someone linked to them through membership of a family, political party, tribe, religion or other groups. • Conduct creating or exploiting conflicting...
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