Bribery and Corruption in the Public Sector: Endemic and Unavoidable in All Societies
Table of Contents
Bribery refers to the giving of money, goods or services to other people with the goal of altering their behaviour to benefit the individual who is giving the bribe. Corruption encompasses fraudulent actions perpetrated by those who are in power. The public sector has been dominated by widespread acts of corruption, where those in the position of power find themselves giving and receiving bribes before offering services (Spahn, 2013). The increase in cases of corruption in the public sector has made it difficult to ensure that services are provided in an efficient manner. The two concepts are endemic and need to be rooted out of society as a way of promoting effective service delivery.
Bribery is a concept that has been in existence throughout the history. Recently, bribery and corruption have become issues of public concern across the world. The public sector has been criticised with most governments being deemed inefficient when it comes to the idea of giving bribes to get a service. Individual in the position of power have been accused of bribing other officials in the public sector in order to get special favours. Multinational companies have influenced the manner in which services are offered by the government and the way in which services are provided to people by securing contracts in an illegal way (Spahn, 2013). Notably, if the contract is announced to provide a particular service, public officials have been found to provide such opportunities to those who bribe them.
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Bribe has been defined as an illegal and immoral act in various countries, particularly in the public sector. Countries have been working to ensure that the entire idea of bribery and corruption seizes to exist. However, efforts that are aimed at reducing or eliminating such a harmful act have not been successful, since the majority of officials in the public sector continue to bribe each other without considering the effect that such actions have on the wellbeing of the society. Corruption has been practiced to facilitate any service delivery. Notably, various departments within the public sectors have been criticised, since many people have lost confidence when it comes to their ability to offer services (Serra, 2012). The continuation of such an act has resulted in the citizens of a country not getting the best service, especially in an area where a bribe is normally given to provide a contract. Multinational companies that offer bribes tend to underperform after securing their work permits. In the long run, the citizens are the ones who turn out to suffer most.
Bribery and corruption remain illegal. Unfortunately, many public officials use their positions for personal gain. Instead of using the power to promote the agenda of the ruling government, most of them opt to receive bribes in order to ascertain the execution of a particular act. Furthermore, bribery and corruption result in wrong decisions that eventually affect the citizens. If a particular public officer were to receive a bribe allowing the provision of a particular service, it could be detrimental if the service provided was below the standard. Bribery and corruption are a disease that has been rooted in the public sector and has been affecting service delivery. Most of those elected to public positions fail to keep honouring the oath of office by taking bribes instead.
Corrupt individuals in the public sector opt to receive a bribe before they authorize a particular action to be undertaken. The failure to adhere to professional work ethics does significantly affect the ability to offer reliable services. There is a need to hold most of the officials in public office accountable for the services they provide to people. The increase in the levels of corruption in the public sector leads to the erosion of confidence of the population in the public sector. There is a widespread increase in cases of fraud when the ordinary citizens are sceptical when it comes to requesting services from public officials.
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Bribery and corruption have crippled the efficient delivery of services from institutions that have been initially held in high regard. For instance, there is the issue connected to the courts. Some officials who have been convicted have found their way out of jail by bribing the members of the judiciary system in order to dismiss their cases. Individual countries have been extremely active in eliminating this corrupt action. However, the system turns out to be a vicious cycle, because judges who have been bribed have dealt with the problem. Cases that have been presented regarding corruption and bribery have not been acted upon, because those in charge have probably received a bribe to protect those who have accused.
An Evaluation of the US and the UK Regulatory Frameworks
The increase in bribery in the public sector has made some of the countries in the developed world take a tough stance with the aim of rooting out this practice. Notably, the United States and the United Kingdom aim meant to discourage the act in the public sector. The United Kingdom passed the UK Bribery Act in 2010, which was commonly known as the “Bribery Act”, in order to ensure that there was a reduction in corruption in various departments in the public sector. This Bribery Act outlined the areas that needed to be addressed with no delay (Carr, 2011). They involved crimes of bribery, including those giving and receiving, and the failure to prevent bribes from taking place, especially on the part of commercial organizations. The Act has stipulated ten year of incarceration with a high penalty for those who are found engaging in bribery and corruption. There is also the chance of confiscation of property that may have been obtained in an illegal manner, as it is stated in the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2002 (Engle, 2011). Furthermore, the Act does allow for the prosecution of individuals who may have participated in the illegal action irrespective of where the crime may have been committed (Jordan, 2011).
The United States, on the other hand, have the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that serves to address concerns that are related to bribery. The Act was a response to the increase of cases of individuals making payments to the foreign government officials with the aim of facilitating their businesses. The Act prohibits payments or promises to pay money or other forms of value with the knowledge that they would be used to influence the individual in capacity to do or avoid a particular action, especially when doing business. The law further requires the company that could be engaged in an illegal activity to be accountable.
Similarities are present between the English and the American stance when it comes to the concepts of bribery and corruption. Both countries have made it clear that one would be prosecuted irrespective of where the crime is committed. Both countries acknowledge the need to ensure that the individuals who are engaged in corrupt deals will be prosecuted.
Despite the evident similarities, there are also differences in the frameworks that address the issue of corruption and bribery among public officials. The difference lies in the scope of coverage of questions related to corruption. In the Bribery Act, it encompasses all of the commercial activities, while the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act addresses bribery claims amongst the foreign public officials (Black, 2012). However, despite the differences that exist between the two acts, the both have a common goal. They guarantee that the cases of bribery and corruption reduce at a fast pace.
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Corruption and bribery among the public officials are vices that need to be eliminated. This illegal activity cannot ensure efficient and equal delivery of services. There is a need to improve accountability and transparency when it comes to the provision of services in various countries.