An Examination of The Consequences of Corruption to National Development


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This research work examines the consequenceof corruption to national development. In general, corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit.The word corruption is derived from the Latin word “corruptus,” which means “corrupted” and, in legal terms, the abuse of a trusted position in one of the branches of power (executive, legislative and judicial) or in political or other organizations with the intention of obtaining material benefit which is not legally justified for itself or for others.

Corruption was referred to as a great sin already in the Bible: “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twist the words of the innocent.” However, the history of corruption is in fact related to the beginning of the creation of law and the state and was already in the antiquity considered an evil, which negatively affects the public administration and the functioning of the political system. The earliest records of corruption date back to the thirteenth century BC, to the time of the Assyrian civilization. From the found plates, written in cuneiform, the archeologists managed to discern how and who accepted bribes. Under the Roman law, the criminal offense of corruption was defined as giving, receiving or claiming benefits in order to influence an official in connection with his work. Due to the prevalence of corruption in the country, this law was supplemented by a new law, which predicted compensation for damage in double value of the damage, and the loss of political rights for the perpetrator of the corruptive act. However, this did not help alleviate corruption, especially due to the fact that corruption was most practiced by the members of the Senate and senior state officials, both in Rome itself and in the remote Roman provinces. The early Christian faith condemned corruption, yet corruption later also developed greatly in ecclesiastical structures, and achieved its peak with the selling of indulgences in the Middle Ages, all until the condemnation of the latter (as well as of other immoral acts of the clergy, with the Pope at the head) by Martin Luther. Apart from the condemnation of corruption, the Reformation also led to a break with until then dominant Catholic culture and the emergence of Protestant ethics.

As a child (he was a hostage at the Ravenna court), Attila1 noticed a high level of corruption among the state officials of the Western Roman Empire and how they appropriated the state money (as a consequence, there was less money in the Treasury and therefore the taxes increased). He thus decided that if he would ever to rule, he would do so fairly and by oppressing the corruption in his own country. The early feudalism was familiar with various laws that punished the bribing of courts also with death. Later, when the developed feudalism again turned to the Roman law, a number of laws (Dušan’s Code, Mirror of the Swabians) discussed the abuse of position. Then, in late Feudalism, countries became virtually helpless in the fight against corruption, as illustrated by the case of France, which in 1716 established a special court in which should rule in cases of abuse of royal finances; however, these abuses (embezzlement, extortion, bribery, scams, etc.) were so extensive that the court was abolished and a general amnesty introduced in 1717 made some forms of corruption quite a tradition. The corruption was also widespread during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, where the victim of the accusation could make amends with money, which made the corruption, especially among the inquisitors, extensive.

Throughout the history, many intellectuals dealt with corruption or theorized about it one way or another. Machiavelli had a low opinion on republics, considering them even more corrupt than other regimes, and according to him, corruption leads to moral degradation, bad education and bad faith. On the other hand, however, the great philosopher, diplomat and lawyer Sir Francis Bacon3 was known both for receiving bribes and taking them. When he reached the highest judicial position in England, he was caught in as many as 28 cases of accepting a bribe and defended himself before the parliament by saying that he usually accepted a bribe from both parties involved and that the dirty money therefore did not affect his decisions. The parliament did not accept these arguments and sent him to the jail where he spent only a few days as he was able to bribe the judge.

Thus, although the corruption has been occurring in society ever since, it has only been given more attention in the recent period-the researches on the phenomenon and its negative impacts have become more common after 1995, when countries and international institutions began to be aware of this problem. The attitude of the public toward corruption was, until then, neutral.

1.2       Background Study

Corruption wears down nations and stops development from occurring. It is arguable that most of the most corrupt countries in the world are equally poor, uncivilized and lacking in education for its citizens.

Among the most common causes of corruption are the political and economic environment, professional ethics and morality and, of course, habits, customs, tradition and demography. Its effects on the economy (and also on the wider society) are well researched, yet still not completely. Corruption thus inhibits economic growth and affects business operations, employment and investments. It also reduces tax revenue and the effectiveness of various financial assistance programs. The wider society is influenced by a high degree of corruption in terms of lowering of trust in the law and the rule of law, education and consequently the quality of life (access to infrastructure, health care and education).

Corruption affects us all. It threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilizes our society and endangers the rule of law. It undermines the institutions and values of our democracy. But because public policies and public resources are largely beneficial to poor people, it is they who suffer the harmful effects of corruption most grievously.

To be dependent on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare, and makes the poor most vulnerable to corruption since it stall service delivery. Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption. Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights.

Corruption and international perceptions of corruption in South Africa has been damaging to the country’s reputation and has created obstacles to local and foreign direct investment, flows to the stock market, global competitiveness, economic growth and has ultimately distorted the development and upliftment of our people.

Public money is for government services and projects. Taxes collected, bonds issued, income from government investments and other means of financing government expenditure are meant for social grants, education, hospitals, roads, and the supply of power and water and to ensure the personal security of our citizens.

Corruption and bad management practices eat into the nation’s wealth, channeling money away from such projects and the very people most dependent on government for support.

Countless studies around the world show how corruption can interrupt investment, restrict trade, reduce economic growth and distort the facts and figures associated with government expenditure linking corruption in certain countries to increasing levels of poverty and income inequality because corruption creates fiscal distortions and redirects money allocated to income grants, eligibility for housing or pensions and weakens service delivery, it is usually the poor who suffer most. Income inequality has increased in most countries experiencing high levels of corruption.

 1.3      Research question

 This work seeks to address the following questions.

 l. What are the legal regime regulating corruptions in Nigeria?

 2. How effective are the laws regulating corruption in Nigeria?

 1.4      Aim and objectives

 l. To examine the consequences of corruption in developing a nation

 2. To understand the reason and possible chances of corruption stopping

 1.5      Research methodology

 There are two major method of obtaining empirical data in legal research and they are: the doctrinal and non-doctrinal approaches. The doctrinal approach is commonly adopted in legal research and entails the gathering of relevant legalmaterials on the chosen topic; on the other hand non doctrinal method is generally used amongst scientist and social scientist to conduct research using empirical techniques like questions, statistical analysis and observation.

This research work will adopt the doctrinal only. To this extent, primary and secondary sources of material have been used, this entails textbook, articles and internet based sources.

 1.6      Scope and limitation

 Given the wide nature of the topic under the study, the limitation on this research is constraint of time, space and funds imposed on the present study. The study will be focused on relevant materials on the topic, mostly the Nigerian criminal law and examples needed. The study will primarily be located within the confines of the Nigerian laws and institutions. Similarly they will examine the laws and regulations alongside real life instances geared towards the consequences of corruption to national development.

 1.7      Significance of the study

This study is significant as it will examine the consequences of decisions made by those with authority and power and the effects it has on the nation hence it will be good for recommendations and for research purposes.

 1.8      Research structure

At this level research work will consist of five chapters.

Chapter One: General introduction, Statement of the problem, Objective of the work, Scope of the work, Research methodology, Justification and finally organization structure.

Chapter Two: reviews existing literatures in the field to determine their strength and weakness.

Chapter Three: What are the legal regime regulating corruptions in Nigeria?

Chapter Four: How effective are the laws regulating corruption in Nigeria?

Chapter Five: the recommendation and conclusion of the work.

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