How Does It Help To Do Nothing About It?!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Mon 20 February / Feb 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission just referred three new cases, in record time, to court, involving charges of exploiting public office, offenses against public funds, bribery, and violations of laws and regulation.

Over the last few weeks, the Commission referred numerous other corruption cases including employees at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), regarding what is known now as the ‘labour permit’ mob.

These are only the beginning of the extensive cleanse we spoke about before, based on decisive directives by the National Policies Council (NPC) to put an end to bribery, nepotism, and all the petty concepts of corruption.

Mindfully, this decision came not out of the blue.

The phenomenon of petty corruption has spread so much that it has become as worrying as it is pesky. It is so common in many departments that citizens, as well as foreigners, have begun to complain about it openly. Many can’t help but wonder how it spread so fast over the years, finding no official resistance to it whatsoever. That is until recently, of course.

Politicians, officials, and citizens for that matter, and strangely enough, have shown reserve in regards to the validity and premise of recent government decisions to address corruption.

Over the last few days, many have said that the government would do well to address major corruption before pursuing petty violations, which is partly correct, as much as it is on the other part dangerous.

In other words, these claims indirectly encourage dismissing petty corruption.

As a result, administrative corruption becomes an acceptable given of the public sector the way it is in other countries.

People who call to prioritise major corruption and leave out petty illegalities forget that these illegalities in other countries are exploited by mafias which have become more powerful than any other force or directive within these states.

It is for that particular reason; the dismissal and normalisation of petty corruption, that mafias there have found something they can leach on to expand their power into the body of the state itself to the point of overcoming the state itself.

How does it help to do nothing about it?!

In some countries, bribery and corruption is so embedded in the system that it is openly exchanged from the moment you land in that country until you leave; bribes and ‘tips’ there are your only way to get any transaction done, by the smallest of employees to the highest officials!

Deliberately perhaps, another group of people confuse explanation with justification, when it comes to social and economic conditions, and the erosion of the public sector salary’s purchasing power.

Whereas all of that is true, it is also just as true that if our core ethical and moral values dismantle, the whole public institution falls, and with it its prestige and the very platform of the Law.

This, mindfully, gives way to an endless array of internal perils and threats; when values devolve in the citizens’ eyes and the moral construct of the states dissolves, anything is permitted!

Far on the other hand, officials claim thousands will be harmed by the state’s decision to initiate the war against corruption, including employees and accomplices outside of the public institution.

While that too may be true, a fact remains that the rapid spread of petty corruption is not acceptable socially, yet, and so far, there stands no defence for it.

Hence, it would be wise to move now.

Culturally and morally, Jordanians see bribery and corruption as immoral. So, on the other side of that particular argument are the millions of Jordanians who will benefit from the clean-up; those who do not want to be associated with a corrupt public sector.

Notably, the movement to address petty corruption is as crucial as it is a pivoting point in the endeavour to reinforce the principles of the Rule of Law.

However, it is vital that these steps are coupled with a clear media-political message, and corresponds with an institution-wide, comprehensive operation.

More importantly, ministers and officials should also direct their offices to contain the phenomenon, and suspicions to respective authorities. Ministers need to take it seriously; denounce dual measures and enforce strict criteria.

Officials have a clear idea where the faults in the system lie, as well as a considerably helpful base to platform the clean-up. Otherwise, so many cases would not have been exposed in so little time.

Soon, even greater milestones are expected before the major part of this particular task is done.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.