Corruption refers to the act of dishonestly receiving unmerited favours from an individual, company, or government. The person giving the bribe is usually the one looking for the favour. Such people may also be in a superior position that gives them power, authority or influence, and they use the same for selfish or personal benefits. Corruption is an ambiguous subject to address because it can take place in a very organized and discreet way. Moreover, there are many types of corruption that range from small favors, which may be termed as trivial, to mega scandals that embezzle huge funds and resources. Here is the low-down about the different aspects of corruption.
The following information highlights the causes and types of corruption that will help you understand the whole idea of what corruption entails. We will explore the types of corruption, the various forms of corruption, their causes and the consequences. After reading through the content, you will have an insight on how corruption is a menace in different parts of the world, how it is channeled into our systems, factors that propel the act and the resulting effects.
Types of bribery and corruption
Ideally, corruption and bribery go hand in hand and are somewhat inseparable. Bribery, in simple terms, is actually buying a favor or something you do not deserve. The underlying factor is that the action is dishonest in nature. For instance, an employee can bribe her or his way up the corporate ladder through unmerited promotions or appointments. Otherwise, the promotions would not have been possible if they were based on qualifications and skills. The following are the main types of corruption based on their scales:
1. Petty corruption
Petty corruption involves very few people and happens within small circles. This type of corruption also involves small unwarranted favors. It is a prevalent type of bribery and requires no or minimal planing. Petty corruption is prevalent in government and private sectors where people buy a service that they do not deserve. For instance, there are some police officers who let offenders buy their way out of the cells hence helping the offenders escape conviction. The outcome of such an act is that the offender avoids going through the judicial system.
2. Grand corruption
Grand corruption happens on a broader scope, which involves many systems and structures. The act of bribery or corruption in this case is spearheaded by a very influential person in leadership who forces the political, economic and judicial systems to bend the law for their interest or benefit to prevail. These influential individuals may not facilitate the action physically but have other people doing the job on their behalf. Grand corruption majorly takes place in the government or organizations where the leadership is either dictatorial or authoritarian.
For instance, an influential politician may directly or indirectly interfere with procurement procedures in a government entity to make a substantial gain from the same. They may be in full knowledge of the pre-qualification laws or the low chances of their personal companies being chosen for an upcoming tender. As such, they may buy out the tender placement and undeserving given the tender thanks to the politician's position and power.
3. Systematic corruption
Systematic corruption is as a result of existing loopholes within the government or private sectors. The loopholes offer a tactful tunnel where acts of dishonesty for selfish gain can take place without the knowledge of many. For example, an organization whose structure does not boldly state specific operations may create room for this type of corruption. Take the case of registration offices with no laid down rules on the charges. The staff members in charge can place a higher figure and benefit from the surplus. Systematic corruption can be propelled by low compensation, an ingrained culture of impunity, lack of transparency, and discretionary powers among many other factors.
This type of corruption can further be divided into centralized systematic bribery and decentralized systematic bribery. Centralized corruption means that it dispenses from a common point or operation. However, decentralized systematic corruption entails random maintenance within a system that is characterized by a lot of weaknesses. The effects of systemic corruption can take a long time to manifest but the institution or organization may end up closing down its operations.
The above types are the broad classification of types of bribery and corruption. The classification is based on the analysis of the scope of each corruption type and the jurisdiction in which each takes place. Nonetheless, other types of corruption can be stemmed down from the aforementioned ones, and they include the following.
4. Political corruption
Political corruption takes place when an elected leader uses his or her power or resources for unfair personal gain. There are many ways in which political corruption can happen. Examples include;
- Using bribes
- Soliciting people
- Instilling fear in junior worker
Legally, political corruption is wrong and punishable but has proved challenging to investigate and prosecute the people involved because of their high positions. Besides, influential people who commit political corruption have loyal networks of people who perform the actual corrupt acts.
It is worth noting that political corruption can also take different forms. For instance, an elected person can use their office, power or resources to have their preferred individual get a job placement or given a service. On the other hand, the same elected leader may solicit to illegally take ownership of an organization or even a natural resource with the aim of accruing benefits. The following are some of the tools or instruments used in political corruption.
READ ALSO: Only corrupt people fear Anas – Jon Benjamin
Bribery – This is the oldest type of corruption crime. Generally, bribery refers to the action of giving out money in exchange for something that is gainful or of interest to you. For instance, a person may pay off a government official to allow him or her to operate an illegal business like operating without an official permit or drug trafficking. Bribery has been a major problem in many societies and has caused slow or no development.
Preferential treatment – All elected officials should be persons of high integrity acting in utmost good faith, fair and just offering services to the ordinary citizens. However, some elected officials end up giving preferential treatment to some people. These officials do so through the unfair use of their office responsibilities or power.
A good example of preferential treatment is nepotism. Preferential treatment can also manifest through the exchange of money or favor to get a job placement.
Extortion, blackmail, and manipulation - This is common where leadership is authoritarian or dictatorial. Ideally, an elected leader gets away with unlawful acts through instilling fear or tactfully toying around with junior officials. Influential and corrupt officials can also use force if there is some resistance or opposition from junior workers. The use of force can be in the form of dispensing the junior worker from the organization. This type of corruption is common where the people involved in a chain of corruption have incriminating information against the influential person.
Graft and embezzlement – Men and women in positions of leadership essentially have the role of initiating and delivering development projects to the grass-root level. The leaders do have access to and responsibility of managing public funds. Unfortunately, corrupt officials opt to channel the public funds to personal projects and developments.
The embezzlement translates to personal gain instead of community development. These officials can embezzle a fraction or all the funds.
5. Police corruption
Police corruption is a common type of crime in Africa and beyond. In this type of corruption, the police accept illegal payments to allow unethical deeds. Police corruption may be in two different approaches;
While dispensing their duties, the police accept payments from criminals. Having received the bribe, the police officers overlook the resulting criminal acts. As such, the police gains from the bribe while the offender escapes conviction. The effects of police corruption can deny citizens the right to justice, especially if the case involves murder, drug trafficking, robbery, rape, and falsification.
Police corruption also takes place within their hierarchy and ranks. Some police officers pay their way up the ranks. Such officers usually do not have the necessary qualification requirements like experience and education grades. This type of corruption is also common in the private and public organizations and institutions.
6. Judicial corruption
Judicial corruption refers to the criminal acts by judges or judicial officials. This corruption, therefore, entails the giving of bribes to officials so that they deliver a skewed ruling that favors you. After receiving a bribe, the judge in question will deliver a ruling that contradicts the facts and evidence presented at the court.
Judicial corruption can involve the government or powerful individuals in the private sector.
Government judicial corruption - In most countries, the judiciary is an arm of the government. The connection between these two institutions can imply that the government controls the judiciary. However, the bench should work independently. Government judicial corruption happens when government officials interfere with the judicial system for personal gains.
For instance, if a government official has a case in court for embezzling funds, he or she may bribe the judges to clear them off the charges. This type of corruption has been common through the years and is challenging to fight because of the power and influence of the officials involved.
Private/ individual judicial corruption – this is where there is an individual versus the judiciary. However, the individual uses their position, money, and influence to get a favorable ruling.
7. Business corruption
Business corruption is a form of dishonesty by an entity for a particular gain or benefit. For instance, an entity may be operating an illegal business for a monetary gain. Some of the activities involved in this type of corruption include not paying ataxes, acquiring improper registration documents, forgery, falsification, and operating with no valid licenses.
Businesses in illegal transactions such as the sale of unlawful goods may buy their way out of the court. Business corruption is one of the types of fraud with long-term negative effects to the economy. This corruption type leads to inefficiency in resource use, encourages crime, and weakens the trade and business systems through sluggish developments. In the long run, the other related businesses will suffer from the unfavorable business environment because of the initial corruption hence the need to fight corruption.
8. Economic corruption
Economic corruption refers to the acts of dishonesty that affect existing financial systems for a personal gain. Ideally, such corrupt acts weaken the systems hence rendering them inefficient. Instances of this type of corruption involve individuals or organizations who buy their way into undertaking money laundering activities or fraud.
Money laundering, for instance, allows the channeling of millions of unaccounted money into the economy. As a result, few individuals do benefit from the activity at the expense of the economy. Money laundering can alter the average circulation of money in an economy by introducing excess cash. As a result, the forces of demand and supply fail to interplay competitively hence creating an unhealthy business environment. What is more, money laundering encourages crime, adversely affects development projects and makes the economy inefficient.
Besides influential individuals, organizations, companies, and governments can also engage in economic corruption.
9. Government corruption
Government corruption involves governments from different countries. Ideally, this type of corruption involves improper use of public and natural resources without regarding how the effects will impact the locals. The perfect example of this type of crime is the government judicial corruption mentioned above.
Corruption at the government level can also involve the soliciting of favors from the executive and parliament. The parliament may be coerced to make laws that favor government operations regardless of whether the laws are ethical or not. Government corruption requires planning and can be done by instilling fear, giving bribes, embezzlement of funds and preferential treatment.
Causes of corruption
Corruption is a global problem and has roots in many public service systems. Fighting this menace requires more than getting rid of corrupt officials. Every individual has to play a part, which should start from a mindset shift. This section will highlight the causes of corruption. The primary factors that trigger corruption include;
1. Insufficient income
Inability to meet basic needs or regular expenditure can lead an individual into engaging in corrupt acts for the sole purpose of achieving financial gain.
2. An ingrained culture of corruption
The habitual practicing of corruption in an organization usually leads to an ingrained culture of being corrupt.
3. Unenforceable rules and regulations
Rules that have loopholes can be another recipe for corruption. Unethical individuals in a company can be scheming by taking advantage of gaps that exist in the regulations that govern the organization.
4. Scarcity of services
If it is hard to get public services, people tend to pay to receive such services and enjoy preferential treatment.
5. Low levels of integrity
The lack of morals and ethics is another cause of corruption since the appointed officials lack the integrity to stand for what is right and firmly oppose whatever is ill.
Corruption in Africa
Corruption in Africa is widespread and challenging to combat. This problem has discouraged people from using the right channels to get services, especially from the public sectors whereby such services are free.
This unethical practice has affected the continent regarding growth. As a result, there are many people who are languishing in poverty and living in deplorable conditions. Corrupt systems leave people torn between paying bribes and using the money for personal needs. The unwritten law of bribing to receive some services mean that the poor will be less likely to access such services.
Corruption also creates a favorable environment for the rich who can pay for services that they do not deserve. This cycle whereby the rich can access services unethically usually leads to the poor being sidelined. For example, the rich can buy a job placement in a reputable private or government organization, which denies a qualified but poor individual that opportunity. The following are some of the areas where corruption in Africa has taken root.
1. Corruption in education
Corruption in education is common news. Parents and students keep complaining about the unfair distribution of resources among schools. The education systems seem to be eroded by people who want to receive preferential treatment or misuse the allocated resources.
It is common for the bright and highly intellectual students from marginalized or disadvantaged families to fail to get good school placements. On many occasions, some bright but financially disadvantaged students end up missing on their higher education level placement because their slots were unfairly allocated to others. Corruption in the education sector affects every stage, right from schools all the way up to the examination and ministry level.
2. Corruption in healthcare
Unfortunately, people at times have to pay hefty amounts of money in the health sector for services they would have received freely. The effects of corruption in the health sectors manifest through the long queues of patients and fatigued medical professionals at local health centers. With improved resource allocation, service delivery can improve hence reducing the waiting time to get medical attention.
Challenges that the health sector in Africa faces also arise from the stealing of allocated money and resources. Such stealing takes place during the procurement of medical equipment and drugs. The corrupt individuals may end up buying no equipment, over-quote the prices of the equipment, or purchase low-quality equipment in order to benefit from the remaining money.
3. Corruption in public procurement
Corruption in the public procurement sector has become a gold mine for a few influential people. Such people take advantage of public tenders. They buy the way into winning the tender bids. This unfair approach in winning tenders means that qualified candidates miss out on supplying high-quality items.
Consequences of corruption
Ideally, any crime has its negative effects. Do not get it twisted when it comes to corruption cases since there a few individuals who benefit from the favors while others end up dealing with the negative effects. The negative effects can manifest in a short or long time. Below are some of the consequences of corruption crimes to a country and economy;
1. Inefficient systems
Corruption always interferes with the operations of companies and service delivery. As such, compromised systems are likely to operate poorly.
2. Weakened development
Countries with many corrupt cases tend to have stunned development. Corruption affects trade and fiscal policies that determine how growth should take place.
3. Encourages crime
Corruption in itself is the crime and also encourages people to be dishonest and by extension, engage in other criminal and illegal activities.
4. Loss of resources
The existence of corruption means that some people amass wealth at the expense of others hence leading to unaccounted resources.
The above types of corruption clearly cover all the details you need to understand about this unethical practice, which is common around the world. Combating this crime should start at the individual level whereby you can avoid taking part in giving or receiving bribes.
READ ALSO: The only clean lady in Ghana football