Corruption in government and public administration are a complex and pervasive phenomenon. In governance terms, corruption threatens the democratic public institutions by permitting the influence of improper interests on the use of power and public resources, and by depressing the citizen’s confidence in the justifiable activities of state. Internationally, there is a growing awareness that sound governance plays an important role in the effective action against corruption. According to Tiihonen (2003), corruption comes about due to greediness of individuals in the public sectors. Individuals in the public sector are selfish, and want to acquire all the positions—or in some cases, distribute to family members and relatives—in an organization. Oppression is subjected to individuals or employees who object the initiative of the leaders.
Corruption can only exist when there is a struggle for power and resources. When individuals in the public organization are in need to climb the hierarchical ladder, corruption or money will change hands in order to get the favor (Jones, 2004). In addition, minimal resources in an organization enhance an individual to be greedy. Those in power will have the privilege top acquire most of the resources available in an organization. In the case where the government would have imposed stringent measures in resource allocation, equality might have existed in the society.
Unlike the private sectors, most of the public sector organizations are not involved in profit-making. Therefore, employment of personnel or workers is not based on the qualifications of an individual, but how one is related to an individual in power. Following this, corruption can be felt in various forms in an organization; among them are the employment strategies (Tiihonen, 2003) Employment is not based on qualifications but the relationship with the employee. In addition, corruption may be felt in promotion strategies in an organization. Though an individual may be hardworking, the management does not base its promotion of employees on hard work, but on how good and royal one is to the management.
The adverse effects of corruption on the economy and public administration are manifold. Government expenditures are overstated, and uneconomical programmes and projects are taken up in order to obtain kickbacks. Standards get diluted in investments (e.g., dams, roads, bridges and buildings), goods (e.g., drugs), and services (e.g., quality of doctors, engineers, teachers) causing hazards to safety, life and health. Government revenues get reduced on account of tax evasion. Subsidies and incentives are abused. The poor are the worst affected since they cannot pay bribes in order to obtain benefits to which they are legitimately entitled. Worse, they are denied basic justice in the hands of corrupt officials, such as the police and the village officials. Corruption thus aggravates inequality in an already unequal society (Jones, 2004).
Although corruption is pervasive, various stringent measures need to be incorporated into the system. Fundamental changes need to be incorporated into the Constitution which would, like a Presidential system, insulate executive authority from legislatures and include appropriate checks and balances against the abuse of political power (Martinez-Vasquez & Granado, 2007). In addition, deregulation and privatization of governmental activities so as to reduce the role of state as much as possible along with reforms aimed at enhancing efficiency. Increased development of moral values among the people at large beginning with youth and focused on politicians and officials plays a vital role in minimizing corruption. Finally, extensive decentralization of governance promotes accountability and transparency at local levels in order to check corruption.