Corruption as a social canker has both biblical and historical antecedents. Many scholars across the globe including theologians hold the view that the phenomenon of corruption has existed and perpetrated by humanity since the era of Adam and Eve. The causes of corruption, especially in developing countries, are complex and stem from a combination of factors. Western structures interfering with different politico-economic traditions and practices of cultures, such as extended family system based on social sharing (Kingful, 2015).
Miller (1999) argues that modern institutional and governance arrangements are an imposition from external agencies and globalization and create conflicts with local cultures and traditions resulting in corruption. Research however, shows that the driving forces behind corruption are greed and self-interest. To minimize or eliminate corruption, then, people must be taught how to overcome entrenched motives such as greed and selfishness.
Successive governments however, lack both the political will and the ability to implement this type of educational program in order to nib corruption in the bud. Inordinate societal expectation on people in higher positions does not also help matters as the rich in our society continue to enjoy unmerited praises and social recognition than the have not.
As if that is not enough, the low salary/wages, the general impoverishment as well as the over dependence from families and friends is part of the problem that breeds corruption.
Described as a mass murder, social evil, dishonest act etc. by many anti-corruption advocates, the canker of corruption has contributed tremendously to the fall of several individuals, governing political parties and nations. In addition, it is one of the greatest weapons for many political actors against their political opponents.
As an effective tool for social disaffection and disapproval, many political parties across the world have either lost or won elections depending on their philosophy and history on managing cases of corruption. Empirical evidence gathered over the years shows that corruption has devastating effects especially on developing countries since it is one of the main obstacles to sound social and economic development.
In Ghana many advocates of corruption are of the view that there is insufficient political will to fight the menace as seen in the failure of the executive and the judiciary to activate the Financial Administration Act of 2003, Act 654, and sect. 66 that stipulates the establishment of a Financial Administration Tribunal to deal with issues bordering on irregularities in financial administration in public institutions.
Today, corruption is conspicuously fast spreading like deadly cancer in every nook and cranny of our society and something drastically or urgently needs to be done immediately about it. In the continent of Africa for instance, the fight against the menace is highly complex and complicated since every other person appears to have related to the next neighbour in one way or the other. In my candid opinion, there are four levels of involvement in the act of corruption; namely involvement as a perpetrator, involvement as a beneficiary, involvement as a victim and involvement as a witness.
Involvement as perpetrators: these are highly skilled and powerful people who are active participants in the dirty business of corruption.
Involvement as beneficiaries: these are sycophantic elements who depend on the perpetrators for their livelihood. For instance, they could be family members, friends and other cronies.
Involvement as victims: these are the vulnerable in society who need the help and services of those in authority.
The last but not least, involvement as witnesses: these are passive observers who are usually found at public places such as offices, public transport systems etc. where the acts of corruption are normally perpetrated and executed with impunity.
In our part of the world, it is normal to see the police extorting bribe from commercial drivers and other road users.
To add more insults to injury, many people who should have helped in the fight against the ills of corruption are often of the pessimistic opinion that any weapon formed against corruption is a wild goose chase since according to them, the menace of corruption has reached a momentum that cannot be reversed. As if that is also not enough, a multitude of our population is highly confused and deeply dumfounded as to what behaviours constitute corruption, making the situation looks like we are chasing an animal that we do not even know in the first place. What a hell!
So, what is corruption?