Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government, or ‘political’, corruptionoccurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.
Stephen D. Morris, a professor of politics, writes that [political] corruption is the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest.
Economist Ian Senior defines corruption as an action to (a) secretly provide (b) a good or a service to a third party (c) so that he or she can influence certain actions which (d) benefit the corrupt, a third party, or both (e) in which the corrupt agent has authority. Daniel Kaufmann, from the World Bank, extends the concept to include ‘legal corruption’ in which power is abused within the confines of the law — as those with power often have the ability to make laws for their protection.
Here are top five most corrupt African countries. Transparency International (TI) just released the Global Corruption Barometer, which ranks countries according to perception of corruption levels. In this year’s report TI surveyed people in 54 African countries. Here is a list of the 10 most corrupt countries according to the report.
1. Sierra Leone
Among all the countries whose citizens were polled, Sierra Leone has the highest percentage of respondents (84%) who said they had paid a bribe in order to get government services. 79% of the respondents consider the police as corrupt, while 74% consider the judiciary as corrupt. Richard Konteh, President Ernest Bai Koroma’s chief of staff, dismissed the report saying TI misunderstands Sierra Leone’s cultural practice of giving chiefs kola in appreciation for their services. This 2011 investigation by Al Jazeera shows alleged collusion of top government officials in corrupt and illegal export of natural resources like timber.
75% of Liberians stated that the had paid a bribe to access government services. In addition, 96% said that Parliament was very corrupt and 94% felt the police were extremely corrupt. Deputy Police Director for Administration Rose Stryker has attributedpolice corruption to low salaries. President Johnson Sirleaf recently dismissed some top members of her administration for corruption.
74% of the Kenyan respondents said they had paid bribes to access government services. Also, 95% said they felt that the police were very corrupt. Asked why they paid the bribes, 56% said they did so to get faster services, while 36% paid bribes because they would otherwise not obtain the service. A 2012 World Bank reportindicates that 12% of the funds allocated for public procurement (enough to create 250,000 jobs annually) went to bribes.
62% of Libya’s respondents said they had paid a bribe over the last year, mainly because it was the only way to obtain a service. A discouraging 71% of the respondents said they wouldn’t report an incident of corruption because they are afraid of the consequences; a press releasefrom Amnesty International indicates that a newspaper editor was detained and faces up to 15 years in prison for publishing a list of 84 allegedly corrupt judges.
62% of Zimbabwe respondents said they paid bribes over the last year. 77% of Zimbabweans think corruption has increased over the last 2 years, which Zimbabwe Independent attributesto rising poverty and hardship. 65% of the respondents said they they thought the health sector was highly corrupt. A 151-page government report released earlier this yearshows that government hospitals are highly corrupt. The TI report notes, for example, that women giving birth in a local hospital have been charged US$5 every time they scream as a penalty for raising a false alarm.