Putting an end to corruption

“Corruption is a tree, whose branches are of an immeasurable length; they spread everywhere.” – Beaumont and Fletcher.


This site (  outlines the basis and set of tools required to advance anti-corruption reform. Economic and social progress, the rule of law under good governance, democratic values, and strong civil society are discussed as some of the essential prerequisites to building the national integrity system to sustain a fight against corruption in various forms and at multiple levels.
The concomitant values, institutions and comprehensive, integrative, inclusive and coordinated approaches within this framework are also discussed on this site.


Anti-corruption action has produced a mountain of words and hardly a molehill of solid results in terms of positive change, or, reform, in institutional behaviour. Failure in this regard has much to do with the complexity, dynamism and pervasiveness of the corruption. Where corruption is choking development, a few with access systematically distort political and economic decisions which might be made (systematically) with conflict of interest at play.

Largely unaccountable, small groups seize new opportunities—from banking schemes to drug trafficking—as swiftly as they develop. Development assistance, like reform plans, is more likely to become hostage to corruption than to provide the ‘cure’ for it. Corruption is certainly one of the most significant obstacles to development, and demand for good governance is increasing worldwide.

This site ( introduces an anti-corruption strategy that includes a governance program. The strategy aims at empowering individuals, communities, and governments by disseminating knowledge. in turn, it results in greater government accountability and transparency, central elements in building institutional capacity and improving service delivery. Governments work more efficiently and help the entire society participate in creating an enabling environment for equitable and sustainable growth resulting in timely and cost-effective services delivered to its public.

The anti-corruption strategy advocated on this site rests on four pillars: (a) economic development, (b) democratic reform, (c) a solid civil society with access to information and a mandate to oversee the state, and (d) the presence of the rule of law.

The governance program facilitates, at the request of client Governments, a series of anti-corruption anti/integrity workshops, seminars, and surveys involving broad segments of society and national and local government. Such instruments have served to empower civil society and improve service delivery through greater transparency and accountability. Working in partnership with governments and civil society, the program continues to help develop National Integrity Systems in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa.

These systems facilitate the building of awareness, prevention of corrupt practices, prosecution of corrupt officials, and reward of honest civil servants at all levels of government.
On the basis of these four broad contexts, there are four basic areas in which action can be taken against corruption within a country:

First, the primary institution of good governance needs to be strengthened. At the head of this list is the judiciary, which is itself the guardian of laws and integrity. But if the judiciary is itself corrupt, the problem is compounded, and the public at large is without the rule of law.

Second, the capacity and integrity of enforcement need to be enhanced. The best law has no value if it is not enforced. The best judges and magistrates are wasted if cases are never brought. Good investigations are wasted effort if the judge or the magistrate is corrupt.

Third, a government needs to establish a solid set of preventive tools. Codes of Conduct and strong independent oversight bodies can help ensure that the acceptable standards of behaviour are respected in both the private and public sectors. Political leaders in all branches of government, legislative and judiciary, can be required to have transparency in their financial dealings through asset disclosure for themselves and their family members.

 Containing Corruption: Who is Responsible?

Ultimately, all parts of society must share the responsibility for containing corruption because all are willing or unwilling participants. Each corrupt transaction requires a “buyer” and a “seller.” The government is responsible for dealing with civil servants who engage in extortion and bribery but it is businesses and individuals who offer bribes to civil servants to obtain certain advantages.

Is There a Global Typology?

Corruption does have some common characteristics. For instance, it occurs in all countries regardless of the level of social and economic development. For corruption – extortion or bribery to take place, there must be a public official with discretionary power followed by misuse of that power. In the case of bribery, there is also collusion between the dishonest official and one or more public or private officials, and a benefit, in money or in kind, to all parties involved. Corruption most likely will occur in the interaction between the public and private sectors. And it is generally practised by public officials who have a direct responsibility to deliver services to the public, apply or enforce specific regulations, or levy fees or taxes.

Despite these common characteristics, corruption takes on very different features from one place to another. Corruption flourishes in different places in different forms including land rezoning, customs duties, income tax collection, non-merit based appointments, promotions, and many more. The actors amenable to leading or supporting reform also vary significantly from country to country. Still, it is unlikely that a detailed attempt to achieve a global or even regional typology would serve a useful purpose because of the number of variables involved. Corruption has a freer rein in some countries than in others.

For example, in some countries, the failure to pay a living wage lies, at least in part, at the root of the problem. In other countries, public servants still engage in corrupt behaviour despite adequate pay. Some developing countries enjoy the rule of law and benefit from an independent judiciary that conscientiously reviews the legality of official actions; elsewhere the judiciary is suborned, acquiescent, or neutralized. Some governments have incentives that encourage law enforcement officers to be willing partners in anti-corruption activities.

Others have politicians who create legislation that seems designed to render corrupters free from prosecution, even if they are caught. In some countries, the private sector and other elements of civil society are well-organised and poised to assume an assertive role; in others, they are weak and unaccustomed to having a ‘voice’ or speaking authoritatively to their government. All of these factors dictate the importance of carefully choosing the strategy and entry points for anti-corruption measures.


1. Lack of Transparency: Secrecy and confidentiality is the aspect which is used in Public offices. It has become a tradition to keep the files confidential. This is the main reason for corruption which is a lack of transparency as files are not publicised and people are kept in dark, which leads to rising scams in the country.

2. Lack of Accountability: Public officials are able to get away with bribes is that there is no law, rule or convention, compelling or encouraging public officials to lay open their income and assets to the people. It is generally found that a very large number of
officials and ministers have unaccounted assets and incomes disproportionate to their legal sources of income. Many officials and politicians do not file their income tax returns, nor are they held accountably, and this helps to getaway. If this information
is available to the public, there will be a number of people, who would be exposed by their possession of illegal assets and income. It would be a very salutary effect on curbing the menace of corruption in public life.

3. Lack of Institutional Machinery: With the introduction of a system of Lokpal being implemented at the Centre level. Victims believe that there is someone to listen to their grievances. But at the same time, there is a lack of institutions where complaints
could be lodged about the corrupt and unethical acts of public officials. Even if the complaints are lodged, there is no one to act upon it as the cases are transferred to the Anti Corruption Bureau, which consists of state police officers and is also considered as
the most corrupt office. Subsequently, this means that there is no institution to hear the complaints of aggrieved people. So, there is a need for an institution that should be independent of the control of public officials and ministers, so it can work effectively.

4. Lack of Information: Files are kept confidential in the public offices and the people are not aware of the deals that are done between Government and Private entities, as it is their right to know about the deals which are for their benefit. So deals and their terms should be made public which will lead to transparency. Hence, this could be a way to curb corrupt practices.


Anti-corruption campaigners generally fit the multiplicity of types and forms of corruption into a couple of descriptive boxes– grand corruption, petty or everyday corruption, political corruption, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.

 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 often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other 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.

All the above forms of corruption are related to the misuse of public office for private gain. These forms do not refer to an important dimension of corruption, the abuse of private office for private gain and here too the public sector is implicated in the sense that it has been lax in the regulations that were supposed to restrain the activities of private sectors.