Criminology. Corruption of Public Officials
Corruption of public officials is a situation where the government officials use the power that is instilled upon them for their unlawful gains. This includes use of public funds for their own gain instead of using it for public development. Corruption of public officials has been known to cause many economic problems in a country. One of the main problems is inflation among others. They also use the public assets like land for their own selfish gain. Corruption of public officials widens the gap between the rich and the poor. This affects the economy of a country as there is economic strain for a country to support the great number of poor people (Lambsdorff, 2007). This paper will focus on corruption of public officials as one of the white collar corruption. It will highlight forms of corruption and effects of corruption. It will also highlight an interview carried out with one of public officials on why public officials involve themselves in corruption. The official insisted his name to remain anonymous.
Forms of Corruption
Illegal acts by public officials are considered as corruption if it is affecting the office they hold. There are many forms of corruption that includes misuse of public funds and assets, nepotism, extortion, graft and embezzlement among others. Poorly defined powers in some countries make it difficult to define corruption and this leads to misuse of power by the leaders for their own gain. Activities that can be defined as illegal differ depending on a country. Loss of money in a country has been evident in the name of political funding (Darrell, 2000). Public officials do not hesitate when they get a chance to steal public funds and assets.
Effects of Corruption
Bribery has been known to have adverse effects on a country’s economy and society at large. Corruption by public officials has also been known to facilitate illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering among others. This leads to increased crime rates in countries because a great percentage of young people will be involved with drugs (Donatella & Alberto, 1999).
Corruption affects a country’s politics because it undermines democracy and good governance. It leads to law being neglected when making decisions by the public officials and this affect the processes of an office. Corruption during elections leads to lack of qualified personnel in administration. This leads to inefficient services in public offices. This undermines the rule of law and procedures are not followed in decision making (Damania & Bulte, 2003).
Corruption of public officials has lead to neglected environment and society. They divert the funds set aside for environment maintenance and development to their private gains. This has been witnessed where the leaders take the money set aside for afforestation. They are also the ones taking land set aside for purpose of forests and wildlife. They end up cutting down trees leading to deforestation, which in turn affects the climate. This has led to poor agricultural production leading to a hungry and a begging nation. Poverty and lack of good services such as education, health care, and infrastructure has been caused by corrupt public officials (Copeman & McGrath, 1997).
An interview was conducted with one of public officials on what influences public officials to be corrupt. He gave some of the reasons such as payment dissatisfaction. Most of the public officials feel they are not well paid for their services. The official insisted that despite this, most of the public officials are corrupt because of greed. They want to be rich and forget the rest of people in a country. “It is simply greed for riches that has led to corruption of public officials”, the public official insisted.
Corruption of public officials mainly constitutes embezzlement of public funds and properties. The leaders use the public assets and money for their private gains. This is mainly because they misuse the power they have and instead of serving the nation they become thieves. A country that is ruled by thieves has many problems such as hunger, poverty, poor infrastructure among others. Corruption by public officials facilitates crimes such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, and money laundering which greatly affects the morality of a country. This leads to increased rate of crime in societies.
Copeman, C. & McGrath, A. (1997). Corrupt Elections; Ballot Rigging in Australia. Kensington, NSW: Tower house Publications
Damania, R. & Bulte, E. (2003). Corruption, Democracy and the Natural Resource Curse. University of Adelaide: Centre for International Economic Studies,
Darrell, M. (2000). Checkbook Democracy. How Money Corrupts Political Campaigns. Boston: Northeastern University Press,
Donatella, D. & Alberto, V. (1999). Corrupt Exchanges: Actors, Resources, and Mechanisms of Political Corruption. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Lambsdorff, J. (2007). The Institutional Economics of Corruption and Reform: Theory, Evidence and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press