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What is corruption?

09.11.2020.

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.

Corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one's private gain.

Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

Corruption can occur on different scales, corruption ranges from small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption) to corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime.

Corruption and crime are endemic sociological occurrences which appear with regular frequency in virtually all countries on a global scale in varying degree and proportion. Individual nations each allocate domestic resources for the control and regulation of corruption and crime. Strategies to counter corruption are often summarized under the umbrella term anti-corruption.

Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development and further exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division and the environmental crisis.

Exposing corruption and holding the corrupt to the account can only happen if we understand the way corruption works and the systems that enable it.

Corruption can take many forms, and can include behaviors like:

  • public servants demanding or taking money or favors in exchange for services,
  • politicians misusing public money or granting public jobs or contracts to their sponsors, friends and families,
  • corporations bribing officials to get lucrative deals

Corruption can happen anywhere: in business, government, the courts, the media, and in civil society, as well as across all sectors from health and education to infrastructure and sports.

Corruption can involve anyone: politicians, government officials, public servants, business people or members of the public.

Corruption happens in the shadows, often with the help of professional enablers such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and real estate agents, opaque financial systems and anonymous shell companies that allow corruption schemes to flourish and the corrupt to launder and hide their illicit wealth.

Corruption adapts to different contexts and changing circumstances. It can evolve in response to changes in rules, legislation and even technology.

 

 

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