Tag Archives: corruption

Corruption Is Norm In Afghanistan

Integrity Watch Afghanistan recently conducted a survey regarding the existence of corruption within the nation of Afghanistan and results are fairly along the lines of what has been said about this nation for over several years –corruption is the norm, not the exception. The average Afghan family earns about $502 a year and pays out about $156 a year of this income to government officials in order to get a job or secure a service that normally is free in most countries of the world. Overall, an estimated $1 billion yearly goes into the pockets of judges or policemen in order to persuade them to perform their legal responsibilities. According to IWA, “Corruption is weakening the legitimacy of the state,” Of course, according to President Karzai such figures and statements are simply attempts to weaken his power. After all, if you are the head of a nation, doesn’t that mean you can allow corruption to go on and benefit family members?

Something Rotten In State Of Afghanistan?

Afghanistan’s chief prosecutor threw a bomb into the politics of his nation by announcing an unprecedented attempt to prosecute two of the numerous corrupt individuals who presently reside in the halls of power within his nation. Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, the attorney general, said he was preparing the case to place on trial two members of the Karai Cabinet as well as three former ministers. The initial charges relate to misuse of funds during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, but most probably if the case proceeds it will uncover connections to drug lords and raise questions concerning the recent contract with China which allowed exploitation of vast deposits of copper. There are reports Mohammad Ibrahim Abdel, minister of mines, received a bribe from foreign sources.

Under Afghan law ministers can not be prosecuted until they have been suspended from their government duties. There is hope the Afghan supreme court will support establishment of a special anti-corruption tribunal. Unfortunately, few foreign observers expect President Karzai to assist any investigation into corruption among his Cabinet members. Such an investigation might strike too close to home.

WhyThe Taliban Win In Afghanistan?

Several years ago, American forces swept through Afghanistan and crushed the Taliban government which fled east to Pakistan. In theory, the departure of the disliked culture denying Taliban was welcomed by a majority of the population. But, apparently, American officials did not grasp the original reason the Taliban were welcomed in Afghanistan was due to widespread dislike of corruption in the government. President Bush soon fell in love with Hamid Karzai and welcomed his assumption of the presidency. Of course, once in power, Karzai and his older brother, Mahmoud Karzai, arrived back in the country from America where he ran a few local restaurants. Within a few years, Mahmoud has become a super wealthy man and has his hands in many pots from which people make money. For executives who have problems getting what they want from the Afghan government, a visit to Mr. Mahmoud Karzai can help pave the way to satisfaction.

The Karzai government is ridden through with corruption which makes it the poster boy for recruiting new members of the Taliban. Until the Karzai boys are forced to leave power, corruption will continue and the Taliban will grow stronger. One of the most important steps President Obama must take is to rid Afghanistan of its corrupt leaders. Can he do that?

Russia Is Corrupt Say Russians–So, What’s New?

Dimitry Medvedev on winning his election to the presidency of Russia earlier this year made it clear to one and all that fighting corruption was among his highest priorities. A recent survey this month reveals most Russians have not witnessed any improvement in their nation’s perennial corruption, whether under the name of the Tsar, the Soviet Union or modern Russia. According to state pollster VTsIOM, seventy four percent of respondents said corruption in their nation was “high” or “very high” while nineteen percent said it was the normal “average” corruption and an unusual large percent of ONE PERCENT said it was “low.” According to the poll 75% or Russians have not seen any sign of improvement in the corruption issue.

Indem, a Moscow based think tank that tracks corruption believes Russians pay about $319 Billion annually in bribes. That comes out to $2,250 for each Russian. Perhaps, the nation needs to unleash tough talking Prime Minister Putin to give one of his blunt demands for obeying the law.

Pay Now Pass Later In Russian Schools

Education in the Soviet Union was regarded as an important component in fostering ideas about communism, but with the collapse of the old world, a new competitive approach has resulted in the emergence of private enterprise carried to the ultimate-pay me if you want me to pass you. The government has tried to deal with the issue of corruption by instituting a State Final Exam which is graded by individuals not connected to a student’s teacher. Some argue, the Final Exam has been “dumbed down” in an effort to account for the diverse manner in which students are taught and what they are taught. A major issue cited by students are tutors who help students prepare for entrance exams and frequently are privy to the actual exam.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union over 650 private universities have sprung up and there is scant doubt they are money making operations run by entrepreneurs out for money. In addition, some businessmen are setting up their own universities in order to ensure students are prepared to work in their organization.

One hopeful sign is the desire of Russia to enter the European Union Bologna Process which requires certain academic standards. It is simply impossible to create so many universities in a twenty year time span without guaranteeing most will be simply money-making machines. Just pay, and get the degree you desire.

As Many Contractors In Iraq As Soldiers!

For the first time in American history there are the same number of people engaged in logistical endeavors as there are troops in combat. A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reveals there are as many private contractors functioning in Iraq as there are members of the armed forces. The report believes many problems have arisen by having such a large number of civilians including an inability to supervise logistical operations to ensure money is being well spent. The report also notes an estimated 30,000 private security personnel have been hired to protect US government civilians working in Iraq. The presence of private security companies has antagonized many members of the military since those in the armed forces ear about $160-$190 per day as contrasted with private fees that can go up to $1,222 a day.

The press has recently been filled with reports of huge cost overruns by private contractors who have been allocated at least $100 billion for projects in Iraq that, for the most part, have either not even begun or completed. It is clear if America has to fight wars it needs a draft so there are sufficient soldiers available to do the job. During World War II, the famous Seabees were famous for the quick manner in which they constructed airfields or did the jobs currently being done by private contractors at a much lower cost.

Who Runs Iran? It Sure Isn’t Ahmadinejad

President Ahmadinejad ran for office on a campaign in which he promised to end corruption in government. His inept handling of various issues has undoubtedly played a role in his increasing lack of power in government. The Iranian judiciary detained six people and is pursuing several others who are connected to Abbas Palizdr, who claims to be a supporter of Ahmadinejad and recently claimed Iran’s judiciary was riddled with corruption. He claimed, “the government(Ahmadinejad) is on its own in the fight against corruption and nobody is supporting the government.” He charged important clerics as being corrupt. Mr. Palizdr was arrested on grounds he is “insulting officials, spreading biased rumors as well as misuse of responsibility.”

Mr. Palizdr was hired by a parliamentary committee that was investigating government corruption. He undoubtedly stumbled onto evidence that some clerics had misused their power which led to his comments. In modern Iran, the clerics run the government and individuals such as Ahmadinejad do as they are told or face being transformed into ineffectual leaders.

Anti-Putin Book You Can’t Buy!

A few months ago Boris Nemtsov published a white paper on the Vladmir Putin years that he considered to be so inflammatory that he cut his ties with the Union of Right Forcees party in order to spare it retaliation on the part of Putin. All Russian bookstores have refused to carry the book whose title has been variously translated into English as “Putin: The Results,” It is available in Russian and English on the blog of La Russophobe.

Nemtsov claims the Putin era ushered in an unprecedented corruption that may have totaled about $300 billion a year. He points out life expectancy of Russians has dropped to 59 for males and smoking, drinking, and the collapse of the health care system have seriously impacted the lives of ordinary Russians.

The justice system obeys the Kremilin causing “collapse of the idea of the supremacy of the law” and the constitution has been “trampled into the dust.”Russia’s infrastructure has been seriously ignored as illustrated that Finland has more paved roads than Russia.

Nemtsov accuses Putin of fearing China so much that he has given them many concessions which, in the long run, will backfire on Russian interests. In fact, Putin is terms a “Chinese agent of influence.” The tragedy is that Russians increasingly are unable to access information on a daily basis as to what is happening in their own country.

Jacob Zuma Faces New Corruption Charges In South Africa

Last week, the African National Congress selected Jacob Zuma as its leader, which ordinarily, given the party’s domination of South African politics, is a first step toward becoming president of the nation. However, South African prosecutors yesterday levied new charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and racketeering to go along with and earlier indictment of fraud and corruption. President Mbeki, a political opponent of Zuma, had fired him as the deputy leader of the nation after he was acquitted on rape charges, but his financial advisor was sent to jail for soliciting bribes. The new indictment was denounced by many sectors of the African National Congress as stemming from a vendetta by President Mibeki.

Ironically, all players in this crime drama belong to the same political organization– the African National Congress. Zuma’s trial will begin in April, 2008 and he has promised to step down from running for the presidency if he is convicted. Although, he has made that promise not all observers believe he will carry it out. Jacob Zuma plays the role of radical reformer who is on the side of the average African. This performance has gotten him popularity, but along the way, there are simply too many charges and indictments to make him other than a dubious leader of a nation that holds the mantle as conscience of the African continent. A true leader would retire gracefully from the scene, don’t hold your breath for this happening in the near future, regardless of the outcome of his trial.

Philippine President Urged To End National Corruption

There is growing furor in the Philippines about endemic corruption which is rapidly eroding public confidence in the nation’s institutions. Speaker of the House Jose de Venecio called upon President Gloria Macapagal to lead a “moral revolution” before there is a complete collapse of public trust. He cited the enormous influence possessed by drug and gambling lords who are funding elections in order to ensure no action is taken against their activities. National Security Adviser, Norberto Gonzalez claims, “I’m raising corruption as a national security threat. It has become the system of the country.” In 2005, there was a scandal when it was revealed the president had conversations with the Election Commission about ensuring she emerged from the election with at least a million vote majority. This week two governors said they recently emerged from a meeting with President Macapagal and received paper bags as they left containing 500,000 pesos($11,360). On Tuesday, Catholic bishops said actions by the nation’s leaders reflected a “moral bankruptcy.”

The Philippine is engaged in a violent civil war against al-Qaeda style Muslim rebels who control large areas in southern parts of the nation. Allegations of corruption hurt any efforts to end the insurgency because if people lose confidence in their nation’s leadership it makes more difficult the task of ending an insurgency.