Monday, 10 September 2007

Corruption: it's a big problem in Namibia (and elsewhere)

Apparently, Namibia has a Zero Tolerance for Corruption campaign, which you have to be impressed by, seeing as there doesn't appear to be the slightest concern in the western democracies that this might be an issue:

Apparently, if you're a public official, if you're in doubt as to the nature of your actions, you should ask yourself a) “Are my actions legal?”; b) “Am I being fair and honest?”; c) “How will it look in the newspaper?”; and d) “Would I like my child, my mother or my friends to know what I have done?”

They've certainly nailed the key issues, to be sure. There are even a series of definitions of corruption, from a variety of sources, just so that one knows what it is, when one sees it, I suppose. This is a taster:

In broad terms, corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain. It encompasses unilateral abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud [my emphasis]. Corruption arises in both political and bureaucratic offices and can be petty or grand, organized or unorganized. Though corruption often facilitates criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and prostitution, it is not restricted to these activities. For purposes of understanding the problem and devising remedies, it is important to keep crime and corruption analytically distinct.
Handbook on fighting corruption, the Centre for Democracy and Governance

Thank goodness we don't have to concern ourselves about this kind of thing in the UK, because the definition, above, clearly clearly doesn't apply to any Politically Exposed Person (PEP) that I know of. Can you imagine if this sort of thing was going on in the pharmaceutical sector? It'd be a nightmare, wouldn't it?


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