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INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION CONFERENCE (IACC)
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8th INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION CONFERENCE

The Papers


Reasonable and Sincere Approach to
Combat Corruption


Shaharudin Bin Puteh


"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely", the phrase if taken in its natural meaning means that anyone having power incline to corrupt. If we were to look at it critically not everyone who holds power is corrupt. In order to curb corrupt practices we must at first instance take steps to liberalise the thought of power corrupts. Emphasis must be given to show that criminals with power commit corruption.

1. In order to phase out the thought that power corrupts, steps should be taken to put things in their proper perspective. Some of the things which are of utmost importance are enumerated as follows.
1.1. Steps should be taken to educate the society at large to understand what is corruption and its implication to the society at large and the country.
1.2. Define exactly the differences between corruption and other legitimate practices, such as gift, present, prizes and rewards.
1.3. Schools and institutions of higher learning should be taught what is corruption and hate those who are corrupt. Corrupt practices to be exposed in schools and higher education should include malpractice's and abuse of powers of public officers and politicians.
1.4. The society should know who are involved in corrupt practices, especially that pertains to public servants, and then the private sectors. Those who are clean should be honoured and projected as example of living clean though having immense power at his disposal.
1.5. Make people aware of the various forms of corruption. The extortive corruption which is common. The transactive which both parties are at the advantage betraying the principal. The investive corruption where the giver have future use of the person bribed. The nepotistic corruption, unjustified act of favouring family members and friends over other violating the existing rules, procedure or law.
1.6. Make it obvious that corruption does not associate with power but it is only the corrupt criminals who commit corruption. Those not corrupted, though having immense power, will not commit corruption. Individuals commit corruption regardless whether that individual is entrusted with magnitude power or negligible power. It is not power that corrupts but the beholder that commits corruption.
2. Political will is needed to curb or minimise corrupt practices, without political will, it will be a wasted effort.
2.1. Having anti-corruption laws which do not keep up with the time will defeat the purpose of having one. Laws can curb corruption but not abolish it. Laws and its enforcement must be ahead of the criminals not lag behind. This is vital.
2.2. Politicians must be sincere and honest in combating corruption. The legislature are politicians and any anti-corruption law legislated would be futile if politicians have any reservation to protect those corrupt. Political will is of utmost importance.
2.3. The people (citizen) must not vote corrupt politicians to rule the country. Corrupted politicians will surely not sincerely support anti-corruption laws which will hinder their corrupt activities. There are some politicians who will put obstacles to law enforcement officers in carrying out powers entrusted upon the latter. They will try whatever way to frustrate its enforcement. Publicly they appear to be innocent, but actually they are hypocrites.
2.4. The people, regardless of their position in society, should be involved at all levels, be it the opposition or the ruling party. The effect of corrupt or related malpractice's, be it the short term (immediate) or long term should be emphasised. The nation will be in turmoil if corrupt leaders rule the country.
3. The enforcement agency should be free be it from the government of the day.
3.1. Having laws which are adequate to curb corruption must be complemented with the freedom of the anti-corruption agency to enforce it. The agency must be allowed to bring anybody to book, and free from any interference from any section without fear of favour.
3.2. Anti-Corruption agency should adequately employ sufficient staff with anticorruption inclination. Their staff should be trained to carry out the challenging job. They should also be given proper remuneration and equipment in order to perform better than other public services.
4. Penalty as a deterrent is a must due to the nature of corrupt offences.
4.1. The punishment should be adequate, depending on the prevailing country's existing laws, that is comparable to other penalty in punishing offenders.
4.2. Judges should be fair and far sighted in passing judgement on corrupts offenders. They must not only be fair to the offenders but also fair to the society, so that would-be offenders would be deterred from committing corrupt offences.
5. Government agencies and officers at all levels should be willing to give aid to the enforcement agency. Instruction, orders and if necessary a law should be formulated to get them to cooperate with the agency. Failing to cooperate would result in punishment.
6. Concrete actions should be taken to convince public officers committing them not to commit corruption, if necessary having them to sign a declaration not to commit that offences on their appointment.
6.1. The awareness of corrupt offences and its implication.
6.2. An Oath should be taken by public officers committing them no to commit corruption, if necessary having them to sign a declaration not to commit that offences on their appointment.
6.3. When joining the public service, one has to declare his assets to the anti-corruption agency. Politicians appointed to hold public office, should also declare their assets to the agency for public scrutiny.
6.4. Head of government departments should be made responsible to anti-corruption activities in their own departments and furnish information to the Anti-Corruption Agencies on corruption in their departments.
6.5. Agents of Anti-Corruption Agency or if necessary Anti-Corruption Officers be placed in departments where corruption are prone, in order to identified corrupts officers and givers.
6.6. Make use of active agent provocateurs and sham agencies to check on corrupt activities. Public officers must be informed of their existence when joining the public service.
7. Religious belief on anti-corruption activities should be taken advantage by enforcement agency in it preventive action or anti- corruption campaign. The heads of all religions should be encouraged to preach on the subject so that moral, culture, ethical and universal values would not be eroded by corruption. Corruption will destroy society and the government.

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