Re: simple ways to reduce corruption
Can Corruption Be Eliminated?
Efforts to control or possibly eliminate corruption will require a concerted, integrated, cooperative approach on all levels of the private and public sectors. Nalla and Kumar (2001) observed that fighting corruption should not be only a criminal justice issue. Computer experts, consultants, researchers, technical experts, representatives of the legal profession, sociologists, anthropologists and banking investigators could all be used in the efforts against corruption. In Jordan, (Al-shamayleh, 200l) control of corruption involves political control (parliament, public councils, political parties and public opinion), juridical control (the courts) and managerial control (the general administration of the police units). Sarre and Prenzler, (2001) reported that, through electoral reform, increased transparency, and use of an independent anti-corruption body (the Criminal Justice Commission), a major restructuring of policing in Queensland, Australia occurred. The public sector now plays a greater role in monitoring the activities of the police. Transparency International-Czech Republic (TIC), a part of Transparency International, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting corruption. Its activities have included lobbying for changes that will lead to greater transparency, including campaigning for a freedom of information act and an anti-corruption hotline, helping prepare the government’s anti-corruption program, campaigns to increase public awareness of corruption problems, and professional workshops on the theme of transparency at the local level (Fric, Burian and Walek (2001).
One key to eliminating localized corruption may lie in the selection process for government officials and police officers. Speakers from several countries emphasized the point that, when high level officials are corrupt, it is very difficult to identify and reduce corruption at lower levels. In the case of elected officials, establishment of term limits for officials in high positions and the use of oversight agencies to review contracts, appointments, and distribution of public funds, following the guidelines of Transparency International, could be effective measures. Whenever possible, independent auditors should be used. Careful psychological testing of candidates for police positions was mentioned as an important preventative measure. It was noted that situations where police positions had to be filled quickly without psychological testing and extensive review of the candidates’ credentials created opportunities for persons who might have motives other than public service to enter police work. Providing competitive salaries for police officers and other public officials at all levels could also reduce the temptation to become involved in corrupt activities. Legislation that would protect “whistle blowers” (those who report corruption within their own agency) should also be considered. The development of Civilian Review Boards that have real power to punish those involved in corruption would be a positive step.
Elimination of institutionalized corruption that operates on an international scale will require cooperative action by the countries threatened by organized criminal activity that thrives on this corruption. Organizations such and INTERPOL and EUROPOL already collect and share information on such activity, but reduction or elimination of corruption may require strengthening agreements between countries on extradition and prosecution of those who carry on corrupt practices across borders or who use certain countries as the trade routes for movement of drugs or other contraband, employing corrupt practices to protect their activities. Those who seek to eliminate corruption must become as committed to this task as those who thrive on corruption are to their own welfare and profit.
- While reading the news papers, we hear of corrupt Income Tax officials being transferred. It is an irony that when culprits get caught, they are merely transferred, which apparently is a temporary breather, enabling them to carry on with their illegal activities in a different environment. In our area some years back, the local Municipal Ward Officer, who was supposed to have political connections, was exposed by our NGO and some activists. He was promptly transferred to some distant western suburb for a couple of years and was brought back to the same Ward with a promotion. When this was pointed out to the then Dy. Municipal Commissioner, a straightforward and no-nonsense officer, he shrugged saying that this is how the system works. As was mentioned by a prominent writer, there are two types of corruption. The first type is to bribe the corrupt staff to do their duty and clear your file, which does not come in the way of the revenue department. The
second type is to bend the law and clear the file which will benefit the culprit as well as create a dent in the revenue department and losses to the government. It is obvious as to why no serious punishment such as a jail sentence is awarded since the ill-gotten wealth is distributed from top to bottom.
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