Public office can be a profitable
business, which some of us want to be part of. Officials holding public office
enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers’ money, while business owners are
operating their businesses as honestly as possible. Wittingly or unwittingly,
some of these public officials are using the power of their office for making
private gain in breach of laws and regulations or practicing unethical norms in
order to serve private ends.
Corruption is so pervasive in our
bureaucracy. It is difficult to identify the exact pattern of expansion of
corrupt practices. Corrupt practices are not just an individual act. More often
than not, it is a series of acts by several officials and private individuals
because of the interlocking nature of government decision making and the need
to keep corrupt acts within a discreet circle.
There are, however, some signs of
how corrupt practices are done by some local government officials’ work that
are most vulnerable to unethical practices, such as:
Hiring and Appointment. When a politician yields to pressure from relatives, friends and
supporters to appoint them or their protégés to government positions.
officials who decide on the quality, quantity and prices of purchases could favour
certain firms and suppliers who may be relatives or friends, in exchange for
hefty “commissions.” Other questionable practices: non-delivery (“ghost
delivery”) of purchased items; overpricing of goods.
of Construction Contracts. Officials who control the awarding of contracts could favour specific
construction and service contractors by manipulating the bidding process, such
as: overpricing work program estimates prepared by the engineering office;
invitation to bid limited to certain contractors; collusion among contractors
in fixing the bid prices; making payments not commensurate to work
accomplished; splitting of contract amounts to suit the desired level of
of Government Rules and Regulations. Businessmen, political leaders and members of
interest groups who are either friends of the mayor or who supported his
campaign, the latter could turn a blind eye on offenses committed by friends
while imposing unreasonable demands on enemies.
of Government Property. Government regulations ban the use of government property and supplies
for personal purposes, such as : the use of government vehicles for private
use; stealing of government property, including bringing home of office
supplies for personal use; encashing gas slips for personal vehicle use;
abusing representation expense accounts.
and Business Direction. The authority to zone could be used to favour certain groups and
individuals. Zoning influences the development of areas and increases their
real estate values.
of Concessions. The mayor has the power and authority to grant local concessions, which
could be granted to undeserving groups and individuals.
Advances and Intelligence Funds. Local government officials use cash advances/intelligence
funds for personal gain. These advances/funds remain unliquidated.
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