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Submitted by Hudson Lucky Masheti on
Preamble; Public sector corruption is a system of failed governance at the country level. For programs to work, they must identify the type of corruption they are targeting and tackle the underlying, country specific causes or drivers and how to formulate a strategy of dysfunctional governance. Corruption Forms; Corruption is not manifested in one single form; indeed it typically takes at least three broad forms; 1. Petty administrative or bureaucratic Corruption; Many corrupt acts are isolated transactions by individual public officials who abuse their office, for example, by demanding bribes or kickbacks, diverting public funds or awarding favors in return for personal considerations. 2. Grand Corruption; The theft or misuse of vast amounts of public resources by state officials – usually members of or associated with, the political or administrative elite. 3. State Capture / Influence Peddling; Collusion by private actors with public officials or politicians for their mutual, private benefit. That is, the private sector “captures” the state legislature, executive and judicial apparatus for their own purposes. Corruption Drivers; Based on recent World Bank look at Guatemala, Kenya, Latvia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania – and the econometric studies of developing, transition and industrial countries, the key corruption drives identified by these studies include;- o The legitimacy of the state as the guardian of the “public interest” is contested. There is little public acceptance of the notion that the role of the state is to rise above private interests to protect the broader public interest. “Clientelism” – public office holders focusing on serving particular client groups linked to them by ethnic, geographic or other ties – shapes the public landscape and creates conditions ripe for corruption. o The rule of law is weakly embedded; public sector corruption thrives where laws apply to some but not to others and where enforcement of the law is often used as a device for furthering private interests rather than protecting the public interest. o Institutions of accountability are ineffective; these institutions are either created by the state itself (for example, auditors-general, the judiciary, the legislature) or arise outside of formal state structures (for example, the news media and civic groups). o The commitment of national leaders to combating corruption is weak; widespread corruption endures in the public sector when national authorities are either unwilling or unable to address it forcefully. Strategic Formulation; It is helpful to look at a model that divides developing countries into three broad categories – “High”, “Medium” and “Low” – the incidence of corruption The model assumes that countries with; o “High” corruptions have a “low” quality of governance. o “Medium” corruptions have “fair” governance and. o “Low” corruptions have “good” governance. The model reveals that; o Because corruption is itself a system of fundamental governance failure, the higher the incidence of corruption, the less an anti corruption strategy should include tactics that are narrowly targeted at corrupt behaviors and the more it should focus on the broad underlying features of the governance environment. In fact, in environments where governance is weak, anti corruption agencies are prone to being misused as tools of political victimization. o In societies where the level of corruption lies somewhere in between the high and low cases, it may be advisable to attempt reforms that assume a modicum of governance capacity – such as trying to make civil servants more accountable for results, bringing government decision making closer to citizens through decentralization, simplifying administrative procedures and reducing discretion for simple government tasks eg. Licenses and permits distribution. Best Practices Adoption; 1. In Rwanda, the “Results-Based Financing” program pays doctors a bonus based on the number of children they immunize or the number of pregnant mothers they examine is leading to improved health outcomes. 2. When Malaysia adopted a “Client’s Charter” in the early 1990s that specified service standards and citizens’ recourse in the event on noncompliance by government agencies, it helped reorient the public sector toward service delivery and transform the culture of governance. Conclusion; A 2004 World Bank study of the ramifications of corruption for service delivery concludes that an improvement of one standard deviation in the International Country Risk Guide corruption Index leads to a 29 per cent decrease in infant mortality rates, a 52 per cent increase in satisfaction among recipients of public health care and a 30-60 per cent increase in public satisfaction stemming from improved road conditions. Studies also show corruption hurts growth, impairs capital accumulation, and reduces the effectiveness of development aid and increases income inequality and poverty. Finally; If corruption is about governance and governance is about the exercise of state power, then efforts to combat corruption demand strong local leadership and ownership if they are to be successful and sustainable. Mr. Hudson Lucky Masheti Kenya (East Africa)