What about Petty Corruption?

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 4 April / Apr 2016. 09:12 PM
  • جمانة غنيمات

It is Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Nsoor’s right to be proud of there being “not a single corruption case submitted over the last 5 years, and not even a rumour of corruption”, as he put it yesterday, during his meeting in Amman with President of the Iraqi Business Council and envoy.

It is also the Premiere’s right to reaffirm the State’s strength in this regard, for indeed —and as he said it, “corruption dismantles economy, and we are proud of what we have accomplished in this accord”.

However, this does not mean that our records are clean, as he would think, or wants us to think; which explains the cynical assault opposing Dr Nsoor’s statements —on social media particularly, and the credibility of what he said. More importantly, this sort of sentiment signifies the mistrust between government and the public; the Prime Minister and his associates have failed to bridge the gap, at the very least; particularly on such a sensitive issue as countering corruption.

Granted, official “grand” corruption is not as it once used to be, but this is not solely tied to the performance of Government alone; which includes in its midst —indeed— members with integrity and genuine concern for public finances. On the other hand, this government, at the same time, did not hold any corrupt officials accountable, some of whom with judicial verdicts issued against and were not sought out.

As for the reasons why “grand corruption” receded, they diversify. Mostly due to there being a decisional will upstairs to fight corruption, inaugurated by the formation of the “Privatisation Evaluation Commission”, who issued a huge report in the aftermath of their works, pointing out the shortcomings and intrusions that took place, and accordingly put corruption into perspective, one that is often popularly exaggerated. Eventually, the report referred a bundle of recommendations to avoid the recurrence of these mistakes again, or compensate for them.  

Next to efforts to pinpoint the place and size of grand corruption, Jordanians’ excessive sensitivity towards corruption, played a majorly decisive role in the boxing and countering of corruption and sizeable trespasses. Mentionable also is the collaboration of several shadow institutions to set limit to those seeking corruption, justifying and exploiting it.

Nonetheless, the primary role of the Government, inadequate —unfortunately, in addressing petty corruption that festers in some, different sorts of institutions, indicates altogether a new publicised problem, manifesting in the dismantlement of public work ethics among employees before managers; bribery and other forms of corruption have become acceptable, and sometimes considered part of procedure or bureaucracy.

Has the government heard of citizens paying fixed prices to get paperwork and procedures done? Probably not! Have they ever received congratulations —a common insinuation of favour or service? This is just one side of the problems festering some institutions.

Accordingly, while it may be true that commission based corruption has shrunk, there still stand the many gigantic tenders, tampered with by influential applicants to their interests or against someone else’s.

And what about ranking official assignment? Are they all necessary in a time when we most need to control expenditure? Honestly, there are many uncalled for appointments in official institutions. As these may not count as official corruption, according to the Premiere, they still manifest a deformation in the performance leading to waste ofpublic resources.

Truth be told, in the tight, typical, and concise meaning of the word, the current government is not corrupt. In spite of there being many still standing distortions, as is known to the them; by evidence of there being no statement of public work ethics; one that brings the harshest punishments on those who trespass on their public duties and responsibilities, regardless their rank or capacity of position. Still, on the other hand, the government took no measure to fortify employees against the temptations of corruption, and there is an abundance of examples on that.

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