(A Review of an African Situation)
This could be expressed in the inappropriate offering and acceptance of gifts, or favours; no matter what is the person’s position in the society – junior or higher level official or independent person or a ward, even down to the trader in the market and their aids including buyers and sellers and all levels of business men and women who might be presenting all forms of excuses for example, underpayment, insufficiency of government aid, unruly husband or wife, or simply because every other person is living that way and hence presumably it is no longer considered as evil; or because it is thought (wrongly so) that it is only what again is termed ‘grand corruption’ normally found at the highest levels of government or other actors that should actually be understood as corruption!
To think of “Petty Corruption” in the above manner would be a very erroneous and indeed dangerous understanding or interpretation of corruption. For when a society is at that level of conception and practice of corruption it is indeed at the most dangerous state of it – corruption here has become endemic and at the state of a crisis. It has become institutionalized and gone into the very fabric of the social system. Evil has been “baptized” to appear as “good” and “normal”.
But evil can never be good and can never be normal for the ordained human living and society. At this level, corruption has become a systemic problem and an endemic infection and “disease” or could one say, a vicious cycle. It looks as if there is a collapse of moral law and order in a society or an installation of a certain form of debased ethical standard that puts everyone at an edge – the worst type that impedes realistic development and progress due to the weaknesses and misdirection of the organizational forms and processes of a society!
In such a state of affairs, one notices conflicting motivations –seen in what has accurately been described as discretionary powers and monopolistic powers, acute deficiency of transparency and candour- at work in a society where one always says what he/she wants or desires but neither of what he is actually seeking for nor of the verity or the factualness of it. Lying becomes what is then regarded as“normal”,“clever” and “intelligent” way of life. Then foul is fair and fair is foul depending on what one wants for himself. Truthin thephilosophic, spiritual or natural sense of the word turns out to be foolishness and stupidity!!!
In a country that is endemically or systemically corrupt officials charged with controlling corruption are themselves corrupt within the system not specifically with acts of embezzlement for which the highest level are normally guilty of but mostly through bribery, and extortion for example, among the police force, the judiciary and other forms of law enforcement agents including the lawyers and in some cases even the army.
Police Corruption indulges in obtaining financial benefits and other personal gains in exchange for closing cases unjustifiably or not pursuing them at all or pursuing them mediocrely with intension of dropping them finally. Such police could also evade or divert investigations or arrests. Corrupt police solicits and accepts bribes in order to close their eyes to evil misconducts, misdemeanours and crimes and otherillegal activities and falsified evidence even up to the level of condoning organized drug or prostitution rings,gangs of dupers and swindlers, demonic hypnotizers and cultic rings, and shares spoils with them; thus causing confusion and misunderstanding of law and order among the citizenry.
Then, as the corresponding forms of order and disciplines are worn down, the evil spreads with impunity to the private sectors such as the industries and even to NGOs both actively and passively; and even, worst of all, to the educational sectors bodied, highly educated and qualified citizens migrate outside their country in search of better life and recognition and thus the nation plunges into the abyss of brain-drain and inefficiency.
In such a corrupt environment where corruption has been institutionalized, the judiciary as mentioned earlier is not one bit spared: Judges receive and give bribes. There are evidences of improper sentencing of convicted criminals or the unjust jailing of or imposing of fines on the innocent poor. Yes, they throw into prison the innocent poor and the voiceless and the critics all alike because in a systemic corrupt society the judiciary even is stinking corrupt and the government personnel,and the dubious or pretentious numbers among the general public hide their corruption and get away under the wings of the corrupt judiciary.
Corruption and the Judiciary:
As a matter of fact, it is the corrupt judiciary that propels the society into the abyss of institutionalizing corruption in a nation. A corrupt government normally hides under the umbrella of a corrupt judiciary and to nourish and perpetuate the situation it sets up a constitutional platform on which there is a critical financial dependence of the judiciary on the executive arm of the government which controls the budget. That also means that, the judiciary can be corrupt not only in itself but in corrupting other arms of the governance for example, the legal system; and such a type of situation can be difficult to completely eradicate.
In that kind of corruption often called legal corruption the judges can easily and “safely” adopt the process by which court cases are so much deliberately and disproportionately adjoined many times in order to give the hired lawyers repeated opportunities to extort judicial fees and peripheral benefits as transport fees and inflated hotel bills from their clients. At times the adjournments are unnecessarily practiced in favour of a party up to a point where the pursuance of the case by the opposing party is woefully discouraged to be abandoned. The process could be projected as processes protected by a legal framework or as at least not proscribed by law and therefore legally permitted whereas they are at the same time corrupt and dangerously so.