What is Corruption?
Generally, it is the giving or receiving of a bribe in exchange for a favour;
- The abuse of public office for private or personal gain;
- The illegal acquiring of pecuniary resources/property beyond your past and present emoluments
According to the ACC Act No. 3 of 2012, Corruption is defined as;
- Soliciting, accepting, obtaining, giving, promising or offering of a gratification by way of a bribe or other personal temptation of inducement
- The misuse or abuse of a public office for private advantage or benefit
What is Gratification?
Any corrupt payment whether in cash or in kind
This can be reward, discount, bonus, or material gain, benefit, facility, concession or favour of any description or any other thing obtained as a result of corrupt misuse or abuse of public funds or property other than
- a casual gift
- modest scale
- not connected to official duties
- given during seasonal celebrations e.g. Christmas
NOTE: Public officers should always declare gifts they receive as a result of them holding that office
Forms of Corruption
Forms of corruption will be divided in two categories.
The first category includes
- Petty Corruption
- Grand Corruption
- Political Corruption
Characterized by small bribes e.g. payments made to public officers to favour clients in the provision of public goods and services.
Petty corruption is experienced by people in their every day lives and they are directly affected by it because they feel compelled to spend part of their income on giving bribes.
It usually involves lower level personnel
Involves huge amounts of money, in form of commissions, especially in public procurement
Also defined as “bureaucratic corruption” because it involves large amounts of money and bureaucrats
Involves high level officials making decisions on enormous public services and goods.
Misuse of power by heads of state, ministers and top officials for private benefit.
Also defined as the use of public funds to pay for activities of political parties and bribing the electorate through gifts in form of money, clothes, food, beer, plots etc.
The second category of forms of corruption include
Payment of money or gratification in cash or in kind
A fixed sum or percentage of a contract
A favour in cash or kind paid to a public official that makes contract on behalf of the state or distributes benefits to companies or individuals, businessmen and clients
Can also be called kick backs, sweeteners, pay-offs, speed and grease money
Bribery can also be a form of an informal taxation i.e. when public officials charge additional under-the-table payments
Embezzlement (Looting or Economic Plunder)
Theft of public resources by public officials.
Misappropriation of public funds i.e. diverting public resources for personal benefit.
Disloyal employees of private firms also embezzle money , however this is very much regarded as theft other than corruption and the ACC can qualify it as abuse of office.
It is an economic crime involving trickery, swindle or deceit
E.g. when state Agencies and state representatives are engaged in illegal trade networks, counterfeit and when forgery, smuggling and other organized crimes are propelled up by official sanction
Also when ministers and top bureaucrats take a share for closing their eyes on such acts.
Extraction of money and other resources by use of coercion, violence and other threats
It is done by the creation of insecurity where individuals or citizens, private businesses and public officials are harassed and intimidated and other criminals can blackmail and extort money in return. This is common in countries where gangs or mafia groups exist. It is very clear that the people of Zambia are now more concerned about the prevalence of corruption than 12 or so years ago.
We also need to realize that corruption in Zambia is a fact-it exists.
For example, according to the Zambia National Governance Baseline Survey report (2004) over 80 % of households and public officials rated corruption in the public sector as a big challenge to the country.
If corruption is not watched, it may become a way of life. However, we can avoid this by putting our efforts together in the fight against this ‘cancer’ called corruption