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What is corruption?

What is corruption? Generally, corruption is described as the abuse of power or the abuse of a position of responsibility; be that by a head of state or a company manager. Corrupt activities can take the form of a number of illicit and criminal behaviours:

  • Theft: Stealing property e.g. a local government official telling a contractor to leave some cement (part of a public works job) at that official’s house for his personal use.
  • Nepotism: Favouring a friend or relative (including a friend or relative of a customer) for a job without going through the due selection process.
  • Fraud: Theft by deception; fiddling the books for personal financial gain.
  • Extortion: “Pay up or else” e.g. hacking into a company’s computer system and then making threats to release data unless the company makes a payment to the perpetrator.
  • Bribery: Giving or offering money, goods or any item of value to influence the actions of the recipient, for example to retain or secure a contract or order or get an official to turn a blind eye to something. Receiving or requesting or demanding a bribe is also a crime (including through a third party).

Bribery and fraud are often committed using the internet to communicate and transmit/steal funds. The financial proceeds of crime often need to be laundered from ‘dirty’ or illicit money into ‘clean’ money to make things look innocent and legitimate.

Human trafficking, the use of enforced or child labour, may also involve corruption, such as the bribing of public officials, or the extortion of the victims’ families.

Why bother with anti-corruption and integrity compliance?


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