The 21st Century Phenomenon



Afghans paid $2.5 billions in bribes over the past 12 months, or the equivalent of almost one quarter of legitimate GDP, a UN report suggested, on Tuesday 01/19/2010.


According to the UN survey, bribes averaged $160 in contrast to an average Afghan annual income of $425. Bribes were most often paid to police, judges and politicians but members of international organizations and NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations)  were also seen as corrupt, the survey said.


Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said corruption was contributing to drug-trafficking and terrorism in Afghanistan. The UNODC said its report, Corruption in Afghanistan, was based on interviews with 7,600 people in 12 provincial capitals and more than 1,600 villages around Afghanistan.


According to the UN survey, 59% of Afghans said their daily experience of public dishonesty was a bigger concern than insecurity (54%) or unemployment (52%). In 56% of cases, the request for illicit payment was an explicit demand by the bribe-taker, it said. In three out of four cases, bribes were paid in cash (see also – Afghan Failing-State).


Around one in four Afghans surveyed had to pay at least one bribe to police and local officials during the survey period while between 10 and 20% had to pay bribes either to judges, prosecutors or members of the government. “The Afghans say that it is impossible to obtain a public service without paying a bribe,” said Mr Costa.


Another finding of the survey is that at least one in three Afghans believed that corruption was the norm. Only 9% of the urban population ever reported an act of corruption to the authorities, the survey said.


There was also a perception among 54% of Afghans that international organizations and NGOs were corrupt and “in the country just to get rich”, the survey added. “This perception risks undermining aid effectiveness and discrediting those trying to help a country desperately in need of assistance,” the UNODC said. “Corruption is the biggest impediment to improving security, development and governance in Afghanistan the report concluded.


* Bribe in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan is used very often by the Insurgency to overcome security measures. Time and again major attacks in Baghdad or Kabul where facilitated by bribing dozens of police officers or security officials at a time. It is obvious that without uprooting corruption it is much more difficult to form an effective security apparatus or any apparatus at all (see – Baghdad 12.08.09 or Kabul 01.18.10).    
* Related topics –  
11/2009 -AFGHAN  REVIEW 


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