Updated: Jan 1, 2019
Transparency International defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.” Recent data shows that $1 trillion is paid annually in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen through corruption. This figure is very important in today’s understanding of development as it reflects just how threatening corruption is to the implementation of sustainable solutions. Following this, we now have numerous voices echoing the need to take reformative steps towards curtailing the collateral damage of corruption on freedom, safety, education and health care. Oftentimes, when this topic is openly discussed, attention tends to shift towards low/middle-income countries. We have come to understand just how bribery, extortion, nepotism, graft and embezzlement diminishes the trust of the people in these societies. But the hard fact before us is that corruption exists in the different income-tiers of developed countries. Corruption affects us all; from the private sector firm that gives large bribes, to the financial institution that accepts corrupt proceeds to the lawyers and accountants who facilitate corrupt transactions. It is for this simple reason that countries are encouraged to adopt the unique coalition between politicians, senior government officials, the private sector, citizens, communities and civil society organisations to treat the cause, not the symptom. Interested jurisdictions should, therefore, engage in open government practices, promote fair competition amongst key players, strengthen whistle-blowing procedures and uphold the rule of law. These are great ways to earn the trust of public because they ensure that the gateway to accountability is open to all and not just to the selected few. The relevance of strong public institutions, cannot be parted with because they carry generational hope for a better tomorrow and as such must be kept on the front line, ready to evolve with the times. Similarly, with private sector organisations, the development and implementation of anti-corruption solutions help to acknowledge the professional role they play in preventing corruption from thriving in the workplace. The proper implementation of sustainable solutions make way for an actionable dialogue against corruption.