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Combating corruption

Apr 28, 2010, 3:12 PM

Official corruption has become an important aspect of politics in most parts of the world, affecting the highest levels of government and state institutions.

Corruption - defined as 'the abuse of public power for personal ends' has always existed.

During recent decades, however, it has grown both in terms of geographic extent and intensity.

Since the mid-70s, it has infiltrated virtually every country in the world.

Examples of corruption can be found in all the political institutions of the contemporary state, including ministries, local councils, the police, judiciary, and customs and immigration offices.

As a result, the three-day inter-agency workshop on corruption, which is currently under way, organized by the Gambia Public Procurement Authority, with support from the Commonwealth secretariat is indeed commendable.

Corruption should be approached from the point of view of the effects it has on development.

Its effects on the poor can be gauged through both its direct impacts.

For example, through increasing the cost of public services, lowering their quality and often all together restricting poor people's access to such essential services such as water, health and education.

There is also the indirect impact.

For example, through diverting public resources away from social sectors and the poor, and through limiting development, growth and poverty reduction.

While this impacts negatively on most of the segments of society, it is suggested that the poor are more vulnerable.

This is both in terms of being easy targets for being subjected to extortion, bribery, and intimidation, as well as in terms of being hit by the negative and harsh consequences of corruption on a country's overall development processes.

Consequently, all forms of corruption should be discouraged.

"Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase."

Charles Caleb Colton