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LESSON 3: CORRUPTION

Corruption means the practice of obtaining power, influence, or other personal gains
through illegitimate means, often at others expense. The more widespread and acceptable
corrupt methods are in a given society, the more corrupt that society is said to be.
Transparency International classifies corruption as grand, petty and political. Grand corruption
consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central
functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good. Petty
corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in
their interactions with ordinary citizens, who are trying to access basic goods or services in
places like police stations, courts, land revenue offices, district administration offices, and other
public agencies. Political corruption is a manipulation of policies, institutions, and rules of
procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers who abuse
their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.
Corruption is a national disease of Nepal which has been caused by several factors. The
major factors that cause corruption are listed below:
The root causes of corruption are bad systems of governance.
There is little chance of getting caught. This lack of accountability comes primarily from
a lack of transparency, for example, when public officials do not inform about or explain
what they are doing, including a declaration of their wealth, houses, and cars and weak
enforcement, when law agencies do not impose sanctions on power holders who have
violated their public duties.
Another equally important cause of corruption is bad incentive. If public employees make
enough money by working, they wont feel the need to take bribes.
Public employees do not get anti-corruption training and education that emphasizes the
negative effects of corruption.
There is no surveillance mechanism in place. Electronic monitors, computer programs,
and other technologies can monitor corruption in government agencies and businesses.
The civil society in Nepal is not very strong and extensive to pressurize the government
in formulating and implementing stringent anti-corruption policies.
The corrupt people are not boycotted by the general public. Instead, they get recognition.
Once the public boycotts the corrupt officials and politicians in the society, they are
discouraged.
There are certain attitudes or circumstances that make average people disregard the law.
For instance, poverty or scarcity of goods may push people to live outside the law.
Whatever be the causes, corruption impacts our society in multiple ways. The cost of
corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and
environmental. On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of
law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they are misused
for private advantage. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a
corrupt environment. Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians
invest scarce public resources in projects that will fill their pockets rather than benefit
communities, and prioritize high-profile projects such as dams, tunnels, power plants and
pipelines over more urgent infrastructure projects like schools, hospitals, and roads. Corruption
corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines peoples trust in the political system, in its
institutions and its leadership. Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt
systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of environmental regulations and legislation means
that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited. From mining to logging, companies
continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction.
Since a lot of corruption is undetected, it is often measured by the perception of
corruption within a given country. If people believe that their country is corrupt, then that is
taken as an indication that it is. Transparency International uses polls and third-party assessments
to score and rank public sector corruption around the world and publishes Corruption
Perceptions Index (CPI) every year. The CPI measures the extent of corruption within a country
on a scale ranging from zero to 100. Countries securing higher scores are rated as the least
corrupt and those with lower scores are perceived to be the most corrupt. Nepal has further
slipped on the CPI 2015 of Transparency International. It has placed Nepal in 130th position with
a score of 27 among 167 countries surveyed. Nepal failed to improve both country-wise ranking
and score. It was placed 126th rank on the Index among surveyed countries with 29 marks in
2014.
[Insert a table of Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, 2014, 2013 like that of class 8 page 67]
Although Nepal has slipped on the Corruption Perceptions Index- 2015 of Transparency
International, it has made some genuine institutional efforts to curb public sector corruption. The
following are the national efforts made by the Government of Nepal to control corruption:
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is an apex
constitutional body for corruption control for the Government of Nepal. The Constitution
of Nepal 2072 has empowered CIAA to investigate and probe cases against the persons
holding public office and their associates who are indulged in the abuse of authority by
way of corruption.
National Vigilance Centre (NVC) is another anti-corruption body of the Government of
Nepal. It was formed according to Anti-Corruption Act, 2059 B.S. in order to reduce the
corrupt activities in effective manner and to build a corruption-free society. It is a
watchdog and so it plays a preventive and vigilant role in order to ensure good
governance by creating fair economic discipline, moral ethics and transparency.
Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) was established by the
Government of Nepal on July 15, 2011 to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and
any forms of illegal earnings including the property earned by corruption.
As its commitment to fighting corruption, Nepal has ratified the United Nations
Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on 31 March 2011. UNCAC is the first global
legally binding international anti-corruption instrument.
Transparency International, Nepal Chapter, is a civil society organization working in
Nepal as a catalyst in the fight against corruption. It promotes anti-corruption movement
in Nepal through advocacy of transparency, integrity and accountability in governance,
and mobilization and empowerment of people.