Dummies and Bribes; Corruption

                by Vic Odarve

Every day, we read and see in newspapers, televisions, and tabloids highlighting corruption. Main culprits; dummies and bribes! These are, indeed, instruments to hide hidden wealth and elude authorities for investigation especially taxation. Dummies and bribes are really gates to corruption. Dummies are persons or organizations serving as a front for another while pretending to be independent. On the other hand, bribes are to give somebody money or some other incentive to do something, especially something illegal or dishonest. With a masterful stroke from the government investigators for hidden wealth from among our politicians and public officials, these dummies and bribes are actually the gates of corruptions.

Vice President Binay

Vice President Binay

Dummies, like wormholes, are done in stealth manner that detection to get a clue requires expertise. Politicians and other wealthy personalities, while amassing wealth due to the position in government offices, used “dummies” to corner government contracts and conceal the assets acquired while still in government office. Such was the case of VP Jejomar Binay who allegedly earned something on the graft-ridden P2. 3-billion Makati parking building. Investigation pointed out that a company that won contracts is a front. He is also believed to be the owner of 350 hectares Batangas property fronted by a businessman Tiu. VP Binay who was a poor human rights lawyer during the dark days of martial law is now very rich, as reflected in his own declaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. With no family business, incomes come mainly derived from the salary as public servants. This makes it difficult to explain how he amassed his wealth.

Russian President Putin

Russian President Putin. Russia is one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

Like dummies, bribes which often develop from personal connections also lead to corruption. Such connections are important in getting things done within the public sector, and a majority of bribes going toward speeding up a service. It is a form of corruption! Receiving a big discount on their own purchases and receiving gifts or millions of dollars in the form of donations are also indirect bribery. Accepting such lucrative offers while in position meant to create an obligation on behalf of the public official to provide some benefit in return at some point in time. Diversion of the public fund to ghost projects also results to kickbacks or bribes. That was what happened to Ji Jianye, the mayor of Nanjing, a major city in eastern China, was arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes worth about 20 million yuan ($3.3 million). Mohamed Suharto, too, President of Indonesia from 1967-98, allegedly embezzled $ 15 billion to $35 billion according to Transparency International report 2004. One would recognize bribery easily, but many a time bribery makes its debut under the cloak of gifts.

Anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International has released its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, showed that for countries with more than 100 million populations, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia were considered as the world’s most corrupt nations. Residents reported corruptions in the public sector are very serious problems. Transparency groups blamed politicians for encouraging corruptions; corrupt political parties; and companies underreporting the value of the resources they extract and the tax incurred amounting to billions of dollars.

Corrupt practices may affect the reputation and further erode the people’s trust in the government officials. Parents must have an active role in raising children to instill honesty; schools must share the value of moral ascendancy; government officials must engage in soul searching and examine their conscience and purify their culture.

It has been said that in these corrupt countries, every single law enacted by lawmakers presents an opportunity for someone to make money, directly or indirectly. Much more, corrupt people are proven smarter than government regulations, but dummies and bribes are always the components of corruption.

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