Corruption is one of the most serious and dangerous social threats that directly affects the country’s stability, security, and democratic, political, economic, and social system. The consequences of corruption lead to a decline in moral values, loss of confidence in public institutions, threatening the proper functioning of the market economy and democratic institutions, deepening of social inequalities, and violation of the principle of equal opportunities. Corruption occurs in a variety of historical and cultural contexts, in all types of state arrangements, including consolidated economies and advanced democracies.
The concept of corruption is not regulated by the Criminal Code, it applies only as the title of the third part of the eighth chapter of a special section entitled “Crimes against Public Order”, which defines the merits of corruption offenses.
The Latin form of the word corruptors means the consequence of dishonest conduct or behavior, which is described as perverted, morally corrupt, and broken. It means, therefore, to break someone, meaning to force him to change the attitude of a certain principle or his former opinion. Corruption can take the form of a bargain, with a relative of a public official (nepotism). Establishing acquaintances and creating interdependent relationships (clientelism) is also considered corruption. An important form of clientelism is corrupt behavior in the form of favoring its favorites (favoritism/connivance). However, these forms of corruption do not have a criminal form and cannot be penalized through criminal law. Corruption is also closely related to the issue of conflict of interest, which may be its primary indicator, whereas it constitutes such acting of a public official that jeopardizes the trust in his impartiality or where the public official abuses his position to gain unjustified benefit for himself or another person.
Interpretation of corruption in the international environment
Corruption is a socially negative phenomenon characterized by a deviation from the value-oriented and norm-adjusted way of promoting the interests and needs of society. In the international environment, various interpretations of the term corruption are used, reflecting the preference of the private interest over the public interest.
The most widespread is one of the traditional definitions that defines corruption as “the abuse of public power for illegal, private purposes. The Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption in Article 2 interprets corruption as “direct or indirect requesting, offering, granting or receiving a bribe or other undue advantage, or a promise thereof that distorts the proper performance of the obligation or behavior required of the bribe recipient, undesirable advantage or promise”. As a criterion of corrupt behavior, a breach of the proper implementation of the obligation for self-enrichment is emphasized.
Individual characteristics of corruption show that corruption phenomena are not isolated, they relate to the development and modernization of society and have to be considered in the context of historical, cultural, and social realities of transnational communities, particular states, ethnic or national communities, as well as concerning tradition, public opinion, criminality and the like. The definition of corruption, therefore, has to be based on its specific manifestation, which is determined by the conditions for the implementation of corruption in various spheres of societal activities.
Forms of manifestation and spheres of influence of corruption
The basic prerequisite for the successful elimination of the problem of corruption is to know the forms of manifestation and spheres of action of corruption. Based on social, group, or individual determinants, there are many different opinions regarding corruption. It can be stated that corruption takes many shapes, forms of expression, and accompanying signs in the form of anti-social actions, often in conjunction with several other illegal activities.
Corruption can be structured based on criteria of intensity, severity, spheres of activity, and stage of its manifestation, but most often, it is evaluated and classified according to the extent and severity of corruption behavior into large and small corruption. Large corruption is associated with the corruption of political power structures, as well as leaders of public and social life.
In general, political corruption is considered to be particularly serious among other manifestations of corruption, which undermines the credibility of governments and political representation, threatens democratic institutions, and the fundamentals of the market economy by assimilating with the fundamental political and economic structures of the state and affects the security of the state in terms of both, internal and external security.
Widespread corruption may have roots in culture and history, but it is, nevertheless, an economic and political problem. Corruption causes inefficiency and inequity. It is a symptom that the political system is operating with little concern for the broader public interest. It indicates that the structure of government does not channel private interests effectively. The economic goals of growth, poverty alleviation, and efficient, fair markets are undermined by corruption. Corruption erodes political legitimacy and the protection of rights. Twenty years into the global fight against corruption, there has been progressing in both policy and research, but much remains to be done. Attempts to measure corruption – imperfect as they are – have exposed especially corrupt governments and industries, spurring reform toward transparency and more ethical dealings in the public and private sectors, but most governments still receive failing grades on the control of corruption.
DELHI METROPOLITAN EDUCATION