In this lesson, we will explore the nature and meaning of corruption. Please watch the short video below for some facts about corruption happening across the world. Click the play button to start.
The word corruption is derived from the Latin word “corruptus,” which means “corrupted”. In legal terms, it is defined as “the abuse of a trusted position of power, in government or in private organizations with the intention of obtaining material benefit”. Transparency International (TI) defines it as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”.
Corruption has been around for a very long time and it covers a broad range of human actions. Some are as common as offering a gift to someone in exchange of getting something or favoring a person or entity when conducting in business and others as complex as tax evasion and covering illicit money flows. It is a very complex phenomenon that is difficult to measure or assess as activities or transactions that might fall within it mostly happen in clandestine. The consequences of corruption however are very detrimental to society and so more attention has been given to studying corruption in recent years.
Corruption in the public sector involving public officials, civil servants or politicians is particularly a cause of concern as it affects the citizens, economy and social development, and erodes people’s trust in government and institutions of authority.