Living with Integrity.Have you ever been put in a situation where you have the choice to pay a $300 fine or a $3 gratuity instead for overlooking the infringement that you may or may have not committed? Have you been told new information that you needed when you set up your business, and as a result been asked to pay either a $100 000 fine or a $10 000 non-receipted payment to have the issue fixed? Have you ever been told you are going to gaol on a ridiculous charge or you can pay a few dollars to sort your mess out? Have you had no electricity, internet, water or phone because the technician does not have time to solve your problem but you can pay him to do it in his own time? Have you ever been refused entry into a country because your documents are not in order yet you have been there several times before with the same documents?
Where is the line between a tip and a bribe? When a person uses their public office for personal gain above the renumeration offered to them for performing their duties, they are corrupt. If you have been bullied, scared or harassed into paying these type payments then you are inadvertently helping support a corrupt system that is creating poverty around the globe. Yes corruption is a massive contributor to the existence of poverty.
Some see these gratuity payments as a necessary cost to business. This is a shame because corruption allows inferior infrastructure to be built at the same cost to the community as the superior. For example building inspectors allow less cement per square meter than the required amount, or roads to be built with inadequate materials to last more than a few months. Corruption stops finance and services from raising the standard of living, instead it helps make a few rich.
Corruption allows organised crime to flourish as the police and courts can be paid off. There is a saying in Africa, justice can exist between two poor men, but between the rich, justice can not exist. The people know that the courts will rule in favour of the person who can pay the most.
Corruption allows the untrained and unqualified to undeservedly pass exams, weakening the skill level of a nation. Corruption allows donated medicine supplied to public health systems to be stolen and then sold in the local market place by unskilled people as a cure for diseases that the drugs were never intended for. These same medicines are then not available to doctors in public hospitals when a legitimate patient requires them.
Corruption ruins nations yet many good people are willing to pay because they think "what does it hurt?", besides they need to get the "road block" out of their way or they can't help the needy. Sorry but you become a road block to a nation's success if you pay that bribe.
A person of absolute integrity will take their chances over paying a bribe. Lets make a stand together and help alleviate poverty for the long term in emerging nations. A quick fix is not a good fix. Some situations could be life and death, and it could be said that the end justifies the means. Yes, at times it is as serious as someone may die if a bribe is not paid. People may feel their backs are against the wall and there is no choice than to pay the bribe, but if that bribe is paid many more will die due to the system that remains in place.
There are public officials that hate the system of corruption that surrounds them, but are powerless to make a stand. I believe if enough people in the community make a stand against corruption then people with integrity in public office are given more power.
To make a difference we need to resist the fear that drives corruption and instead obey God's Word by living with integrity.