Our Corruption, Not So Discrete

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 9 May / May 2016. 11:17 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

When Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Nsoor, not long ago, stated his government was corruption free; having not seen a single filed case of corruption over a relatively extensive period of time, it was granted.

However, we did remind the Premiere, at the same time, of the spreading petty corruption festered in our institutions, yet to no end; not a single “reaction” was taken, to reassure society that the intention is deeply installed to fence off this trend.

Last Tuesday, Transparency International boded us with the news of there being too much petty corruption in a number of Jordanian government departments. Our reputation seems to precede us on a global level, as corruption is no longer exclusive to the local eye! Alas, had our reputation be for countering corruption, not nurturing it!

Petty corruption —easily dismissed by everybody, including monitory devices apparently; stands a real threat to our society and societal structure, perhaps even out-scaling grand corruption. Petty corruption tolls on everybody, realistically speaking, not just the public servant. It means bribery has become acceptable to the citizen as much as it is to the public officer, in most and definitely not all cases.

Meanwhile, our —petty— corruption is not so discrete anymore; it has not been so in a while, before the Transparency Int’l report came out. And there many a story on how a public officer in this department or that was bribed, told by people without the least sense of guilt, reflective exactly, and massively, the degrees of alteration in Jordanian convictions and culture!

The phenomena will grow. And this comprises threat to the Country’s reputation, and its people’s. While not everybody accepts bribery, undoubtedly, still, impressions sometimes —if not always; are more dangerous than truth. 75 per cent of Jordanians, according to the report, believe corruption has grown over the past year.

The point is to say that the Jordanians’ idea on corruption still stands. Even though it may be not set in stone, what is however —in regards to the endurance of this impression, is the governments’ failure to alter the public’s image and conceptions. Notably, a considerable part of this may be caused by the fact that sentences regarding grand corruption cases, with the involved convicted, remain unexecuted.

Today, we need recognition, openly, of the issue of petty corruption; instead of it being whispered about. This recognition should entail action that would contain and address the issue, in order to retain what is left of integrity, as no matter how “petty”, this still reflects badly on Jordan.

Over the next phase, driven by scalable changes introduced to the Kingdom, we will have a new king of government, which was prefaced by Dr Nsoor’s current government, largely executive and technical. One of its main tasks would be to retain the good name and reputation Jordanian bureaucracy and bureaucrats, massively disfigured lately in the absence of accountability and monitoring, and mostly in the absence of conviction in the public service doctrine among employees, who give up their integrity —some of course— to compromise low pay, possibly caused by the over-inflatedness of the public sector.

Everybody is to blame. And the dismissal of this phenomena’s societal and cultural tolls on everything that we have, is no longer acceptable. This calls for a thorough review of the diagnostics of the situation, in order to uncover the real scale of the issue of petty corruption; not so discrete.