Changing nature of Corruption

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How corruption is defined in the text and how it is perceived by the people may have different approaches. Even a rich person living a luxurious life, well within his/her resources, may be perceived as corrupt when there are people working hard but finding it difficult to have basic needs fulfilled.

Possessing property beyond the known source of income in our context make common instances of corruption. Power brokers, commission agents, bribe taking bureaucrats—police and civilians– and politicians fall into the category of corrupts in the public esteem.

Worse, nexus among these different categories of ‘corrupts’ and their together enjoying immunity from the state and judiciary, by directly favouring them or delayed justice only helps endorsing corruption.

The second issue is corruption at what cost? How does it affect the efficiency and morale of the society?  If corruption in the form of nepotism, favouritism or money deprive on bright and deserving applicant from a job and it goes to far less deserving, it will not only demoralize the competent one, but will also inspire the beneficiary of the corrupt system to carry forward this legacy to their successors.

Corruption, commonly understood as bribery in our context- usually illegal monetary transaction- has much broader scope. Embezzlement and kickbacks are two other common forms of corruption at a public level. But the real practice of corruption in the modern era has defied this understanding and assumed a much larger and different shape.

In our case, absence of accountability in parliament and a transparent understanding among top political leaders that they should enjoy all impunity has institutionalized the culture of corruption and impunity both.

Servile and partisan anti-corruption administrative as well as constitutional bodies are literally dysfunctional because of political interference, or because they do not have enough expertise and resources to track down and investigate corruption. The nature and dimension of corruption have changed and even taken extra-judicial size.

Prepaid and postpaid forms of corruption, transfer of money from a second person to a third person’s account abroad for some deal clinched in Nepal are the new types of headache for authorities in the anti-corruption drive.

The media blast of the Bhutani Refugee scam now and the revelation by Ex chief justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana in course of his defence statement before the parliamentary committee in the impeachment case shows a mega picture of the all pervasive corruption. Power struggle within the apex judiciary, their clear affiliation to political parties, how far the role of Bar and rest of the judges was fair or unfair, ethical or unethical are issues that need to be tackled if corruption is to be tackled seriously. A fair and just judiciary injects fear of being punished, but the corrupts do not seem to be facing that situation in foreseeable future. In a way, the Bhutani refugee case trial may be a ground breaking case if its network and the end beneficiary of the racked are exposed and punished.

Nepal has seen a competitive zeal and award of contract for construction of view tower, promotion of dozer development and now, the sale of soil and stones abroad has fallen into the policy pronouncement of the government. The tender and contracts to be awarded by the governments are controlled by party goons. Any construction with commercial motive –view towers or cable cars etc—are prone to under the table deals and involve violation of ethics, morality, law of transparency, or all combined.

From concerned officials duping the social security allowances of deceased ones to parliamentarians being granted millions as development budget are nothing more than brazen corruption . Leak of information regarding taxation policy prior to the budget being presented in the House is not one isolated example, but each year, with different ministers favouring different parties.

Corruption can happen in tandem. Corruption is illegal, immoral, and unethical. Law and government machinery can work only when there is a conducive atmosphere for it to work, and what is simply known here is no such mechanism and driving will, available around.  We only have a system by the corrupt and for the corrupt.