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On Human Flourishing; Grand  and petty corruption have equal  detrimental effects, a polite reminder Govt to build 10,000 class

On Human Flourishing; Grand and petty corruption have equal detrimental effects, a polite reminder Govt to build 10,000 class

In recent years, the global community has tended to talk more about grand, bureaucratic or political corruption.

Even when populist anti-corruption operations tend to give way to initiatives aimed at a systemic and structural overhaul to bring about lasting and meaningful change, in most cases, and generally speaking, the focus has been more on grand and organized than petty and disorganized corruption.

 

This temptation to narrow down into grand corruption is not only common, but its reasons are understandable. Indeed, reasons are comprehensible because corruption on a grand scale tends to be associated with some dictators and their cronies, normally involving embezzlement of huge sums of public funds, and the mismanagement, wastage, inequity, and social decay that come along with it.

 

A general look at this type of corruption and its diverse effect implies and tells many that it is and can be disastrous for an economy and should be looked at with a sharp eye and mind. This is not healthy though. It is not a good option in the fight against corruption.

 

Obviously, no one can deny the fact that with grand corruption, one is reminded of the fact that we have, across the globe, many familiar tales of fortunes in gold, gems and jewelry being stashed away in secret hiding places by corrupt officials and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in acquiring real estate abroad and in depositing into their foreign bank accounts. It is indeed grand, a big corruption deal.

 

However, all that said, from my personal work experience as social ethics specialist and anti-corruption consultant, I wish to remind my reader that what I have just highlighted is not as it should be. So, my polite reminder has these words for your reflection; watch out, corruption does not have to be on a grand scale to inflict serious damage.

It is good to know and indicate that the term grand corruption is often used to describe such acts, reflecting the scale of corruption and the considerable sums of money involved, but let the concept which speaks of the level, size or measure not be the reason for misleading the public.

This can be, or may have been the reason as to why the fight against corruption continues to yield limited fruits in some countries.

In my view therefore, there is a shear need for countries, African in particular, to keep the issue of corruption squarely in view, not only in the development agenda, but also in understanding that whatever type of corruption that exist in any community across geographies and sectors has the potential to cause severe adverse effects, some of which begin small and become big and lethal.

In principle therefore, whether corruption is identified as small, medium or big, even though difficulties in measuring different kinds or types of corruption persist globally, I am of the opinion that all anti-corruption initiatives should regard any corruption as seriously detrimental, damaging and destructive.

The question may rise as to how and to what extent both petty and grand corruption can be harmful. Well, it is very clear and much evidence exists that any corruption could potentially, to mention a few examples, lead to both inequality and the provision of basic services, affect poor people disproportionately. These are just a few examples.

Likewise, any type of corruption can distract domestic investment and tax revenues, imposes additional costs on growth for companies, especially in terms of their performance and productivity, sidetrack macro-economic growth, lay grounds for lack of trust, reduced legitimacy and lack of confidence in public institutions, hindrance to income distribution, consumption patterns, investment, and above all, the government bud[1]get and economic reforms.

So, what I wish is made clear and well understood by my readers today is this; there should be no difference whatsoever between public servants or elected officials who abuse their public office to secure private rents in exchange for public services and any other person who is involved in activities to exploit the country’s natural resources or to en[1]gage in quick yielding ventures. These two corrupt people are dangerous.

Undeniably, studies have also shown that grand corruption is preferred to petty corruption for several reasons, including but not limited to, being more efficient, for example, by and large the investor just deals with one official and one bribe gets him everything he needs.

Furthermore, with grand corruption, the perspective of getting insider information makes the bribe more valuable. Unlike petty corruption, grand corruption is probably more likely to be more predict[1]able because the investor just deals with a single corrupt official or politician who is responsible for the whole procedure.

More importantly, many researchers, space does not al[1]low to elucidate further, have suggested and I fully agree that grand corruption often comes together with top-down corruption within the civil service because the corrupt official probably has to pay for fulfilling the bribe[1]payer’s demands.

Within this context, the tendency to focus on grand corruption is real, but my advice is clear, and let me reiterate, the one who demands extra payment for the provision of government services, make speed money payments to expedite bureaucratic procedures or pay bribes to allow actions that violate rules and regulations, should not be differentiated from the other politicians who make decisions involving large public contracts or projects financed by external donors.

What I see as critical to what I have branded my public reminder is to invite and challenge my fellow anti-corruption experts and indeed the general public to always call to mind that any sustained effort to deal with the problem of corruption, big or small, petty or grand, should, among many alternatives or ways, seek to answer the following questions; what are the conditions that facilitate corruption, what are its costs and what are the most effective ways to combat it.

My reminder is extended to my fellow countrymen and women too. They too need a cue or rather an aide-memoire on this concern.

This is important now because, in my view, of two major reasons. First, is the need to keep our country’s record progress in the fight against corruption. Secondly, our national efforts to counter corruption, under PCCB, the Prevention and Com[1]bating of Corruption Bureau remains key to the country’s efforts in eradicating poverty and building inclusive growth.

Well, as to why one should commend PCCB sustained efforts and work is by looking at the continued efforts, under the leadership of CP Salum R. Hamduni, who, together with his team are determinedly building on the past successes.

Their accomplishments are realistic when one looks at a simple, easy to note and comparative measure.

It is on the basis of the level in which we are as a country today. The situation is different when compared to the days when mother Tanzania was rocked by a number of corruption scandals, especially between 2005 and 2015. The good news is, even though the task ahead remains massive, the hope in PCCB keeps growing.

In recent years, the global community has tended to talk more about grand, bureaucratic or political corruption. Even when populist anti-corruption operations tend to give way to initiatives aimed at a systemic and structural overhaul to bring about lasting and meaningful change, in most cases, and generally speaking, the focus has been more on grand and organized than petty and disorganized corruption.

This temptation to narrow down into grand corruption is not only common, but its reasons are understandable. Indeed, reasons are comprehensible because corruption on a grand scale tends to be associated with some dictators and their cronies, normally involving embezzlement of huge sums of public funds, and the mismanagement, wastage, inequity, and social de[1]cay that come along with it.

A general look at this type of corruption and its diverse effect implies and tells many that it is and can be disastrous for an economy and should be looked at with a sharp eye and mind. This is not healthy though. It is not a good option in the fight against corruption.

Obviously, no one can deny the fact that with grand corruption, one is reminded of the fact that we have, across the globe, many familiar tales of fortunes in gold, gems and jewelry being stashed away in secret hiding places by corrupt officials and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in acquiring real estate abroad and in depositing into their foreign bank accounts. It is indeed grand, a big corruption deal.

However, all that said, from my personal work experience as social ethics specialist and anti-corruption consultant, I wish to remind my reader that what I have just highlighted is not as it should be. So, my polite re[1]minder has these words for your reflection; watch out, corruption does not have to be on a grand Again, within the context of growing challenges, the institution shall need to continue with its philosophy, which suggests that combating dif[1]ferent types of corruption re[1]quires different approaches.

This is a very good approach. Once again and at this juncture, each one involved in the fight against corruption should not forget that what we call petty corruption, which focuses on reflecting the small payments often involved – although in aggregate the sums may be large, and grand cor[1]ruption of which a lot of money is involved and the favors are respectively bigger, should continue to be tackled head on with the same magnitude of power and efforts.

The Prevention and Com[1]bating of Corruption Bureau can do this very well because they are aware of the fact that corruption shall always stand as a complex, dynamic and multi-faceted phenomenon that can take a variety of forms.

To sum up my reminder that grand and petty corruptions have similar detrimental effects, let me say corruption, both petty and grand, could be a symptom of many ills of our society.

Therefore, the fight against both has to be multi[1]fronted. More importantly, let my reader remember that both petty and grand corruption can occur in those areas that give people discretionary power, something I call one of the hotbeds for corruption.

Cheers!

Dr Alfred Sebahene, PhD Social Ethics Specialist and Anti-Corruption Consultant St John’s University of Tanzania Dodoma, Tanzania Email Addresses: arsebahene2@ yahoo.co.uk, alfredsebahene@gmail.com Mobile: 0767 233 997

Even with new resolutions, I will not fear

As others start talking in low tones ...

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Author: Dr Alfred Sabahene

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