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How to Identify Corruption

What is Corruption?

The abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs. 

“CORRUPTIONARY” – Glossary of Corruption Terms

The offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal, unethical or a breach of trust. Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards or other advantages (taxes, services, donations, favours etc.)

An unequal system of exchanging resources and favours based on an exploitative relationship between a wealthier and/or more powerful ‘patron’ and a less wealthy and weaker ‘client’.

A secret agreement between parties, in the public and/or private sector, to conspire to commit actions aimed to deceive or commit fraud with the objective of illicit financial gain. The parties involved often are referred to as ‘cartels’.

Situation where an individual or the entity for which they work, whether a government, business, media outlet or civil society organisation, is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their position and their own private interests.

This refers to the favourable treatment of friends and associates in the distribution of resources and positions, regardless of their objective qualifications.

When a person holding office in an institution, organisation or company dishonestly and illegally appropriates, uses or traffics the funds and goods they have been entrusted with for personal enrichment or other activities.

Act of utilising, either directly or indirectly, one’s access to a position of power or knowledge to demand unmerited cooperation or compensation as a result of coercive threats.

These are small bribes, also called a ‘facilitating’, ‘speed’ or ‘grease’ payment; made to secure or expedite the performance of a routine or necessary action to which the payer has legal or other entitlement.

To cheat. The offence of intentionally deceiving someone in order to gain an unfair or illegal advantage (financial, political or otherwise). Countries consider such offences to be criminal or a violation of civil law.

Graft (verb) is to obtain money dishonestly by exploiting one’s position of power, especially political power. Graft is understood as political corruption with an element of greediness. Graft (noun) refers to the rewards of corruption: the loot, booty, payoffs, or spoils.

Bribes, seen from the angle of the briber and alluding to the “drop of oil given to a squeaky wheel” of excessive bureaucracy to make the things move smoothly again. Also called a softener, sweetener, gift.

Money laundering is the process of concealing the origin, ownership or destination of illegally or dishonestly obtained money by hiding it within legitimate economic activities to make them appear legal.

Form of favouritism based on acquaintances and familiar relationships whereby someone in an official position exploits his or her power and authority to provide a job or favour to a family member or friend, even though he or she may not be qualified or deserving

Form of favouritism in which a person is selected, regardless of qualifications or entitlement, for a job or government benefit because of affiliations or connections.

A protected disclosure is a statement or report about serious wrongdoing, like corrupt conduct, maladministration or a substantial waste of public money. It is an admission or revelation that – when fulfilling certain requirements – entitles the person who made the disclosure to support and protection from reprisals, victimisation or even prosecution. Protected disclosures are made internally in the organisation, or to an Ombudsman or someone with the power to prevent retaliation against the discloser.

Tax evasion is the illegal non-payment or under-payment of taxes, usually by deliberately making a false declaration or no declaration to tax authorities – such as by declaring less income, profits or gains than the amounts actually earned, or by overstating deductions. It entails criminal or civil legal penalties. Tax avoidance is the legal practice of seeking to minimise a tax bill by taking advantage of a loophole or exception to the rules, or adopting an unintended interpretation of the tax code. It usually refers to the practice of seeking to avoid paying tax by adhering to the letter of the law but opposed to the spirit of the law. Proving intention is difficult; therefore, the dividing line between avoidance and evasion is often unclear.

Making a disclosure in the public interest by an employee, director or external person, in an attempt to reveal improper conduct which may include neglect or abuses within the activities of a public body pursuant to the Protected Disclosures Act, 2011 (Whistleblower Act). 

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