News / Economy

Corruption in Government, Business Can Be Found Everywhere

Corruption in Government, Business Can Be Found Everywherei
X
February 20, 2013 10:57 PM
Corruption is a common and pervasive human flaw. In every society, there are people who will act improperly if they think that they won’t get caught. Nations enact laws to try to curb corrupt activities, but the lure of money - and power, in some circumstances - is irresistible to many. Jeffrey Young reports.
— Corruption is a common and pervasive human flaw. In every society, there are people who will act improperly if they think that they won’t get caught. Nations enact laws to try to curb corrupt activities, but the lure of money - and power, in some circumstances - is irresistible to many.

If there is money, if there is power, there is the likelihood of corruption - whether blatant, or hidden, whether in government, in private business or among individuals.

Corruption is so vast, and so pervasive, that the numbers are staggering.  An international anti-corruption monitoring group called Global Financial Integrity says that in the years from 2001 through 2010, developing nations experienced a total of $5.86 trillion in illicit funds leaving those countries.

The leading nation among them was China, where the total that decade hit $2.75 trillion. Mexico was second on the list, with $476 billion in illicit outflows. Russia was fifth at $152 billion. Nigeria was the top African nation on the GFI list, at number seven, with an illicit outflow of $129 billion.

The typical image of an official corrupted by bribes represents only a small part of the picture, according to Global Financial Integrity’s Director, Raymond Baker.

“The corrupt component that stems from bribery and theft from government officials is really quite small-it’s only about three percent, or four percent, or five percent of the global total,” says Baker. “The larger parts of these cross-border flows are the criminal component, which in our estimation is about 30-35 percent of the global total. But the commercially tax avoiding component-at about 60-65 percent of the total is by far the biggest part of this problem.”

Global Financial Integrity says that more recently, the illicit outflow from developing nations is nearing a trillion dollars a year.

Moving veritable mountains of money requires a vast and global shadow financial system.

“The essential elements of the system are secrecy, jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake charitable foundations,” says the GFI director. “The mispricing of trade is part of this system; various money laundering techniques are a part of this system. Quite frankly another part is holes left in the laws of western countries that facilitate the movement of money through this shadow financial system and ultimately into our own Western economies.”

GFI says one of the biggest financial “black holes” in the world is actually the United States, where individual states handle the legal process of incorporations, often with little oversight. It says this allows creation of anonymous companies that can then serve as shells and conduits for illicit money.

Corruption monitoring groups say banking secrecy in some western nations such as Switzerland, and islands in the Caribbean, attracts corrupt cash and facilitates its movement. In recent years, Switzerland has bowed to pressures from other nations and international law enforcement agencies and somewhat loosened its secrecy laws.

While corruption is vast in scope, the effort to fight it is growing in strength, and spreading around the globe.

Since its founding in 1993, the watchdog group Transparency International has worked to get nations to put more of their government activities in the public light. And along with that effort, the advance of technology and other developments have given citizens everywhere better tools to press for that openness. Transparency International co-founder Frank Vogl lists the broad-based efforts underway.

“Thanks to the Internet,” Vogl says, “Thanks to the really enormous growth of civil society across the world, thanks to social media, thanks to investigative journalism, thanks to courageous public prosecutors, the public at large knows more about abuse of public office than ever before. It is better informed about corruption.”

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 21, 2013 11:29 PM
In many places corruption may be the deciding factor on which product/service is purchased. Companies that are by law bound not to participate, will lose contracts/jobs/market share to the detriment of the company/workers/etc, if there is not a mandated and enforced system for all nations in the world; how do you solve the foreign enforcement issue?


by: Patricia Donalds
February 21, 2013 5:48 PM
DoD study on random polygraphs for personnel.
"the polygraph is the single most effective tool for finding information people were trying to hide." - DoD, NSA

The real name on this war on terror, drugs, economy, ourselves and everything is called CORRUPTION.

Plain and simple.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.