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White Collar Crime: Political Corruption

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White Collar Crime: Political Corruption


White collar crimes are crimes committed by people with high social status or leaders in

the society. They are those illegal actions characterized by deceit and violation of trust that

people commit to obtain property, money and personal and business advantages. Unlike blue

caller crimes which involves physical force, white collar crimes are non violent in nature but

often result in bigger losses and costs. The tremendous increase in the levels of white collar

crime in the recent past is attributed to the growth in levels of education, growth in computer

literacy and more involvement of people in corporate management. More importantly, white

collar crimes just like the blue collar crimes need to be prosecuted in a court of law. Prosecutions

and adoption of strict policies will deter some of the criminals.


White Collar Crime: Political Corruption

According to Albanese (2008), white collar crimes can be defined as crimes committed

by a person of high respectability and high status in the course of his occupation. These people

include politicians and government officials, doctors, lawyers, accountants and other

professionals. White collar crime is a widespread problem which doesn’t receive the attention it

deserves as some of the people who commit those crimes often go unnoticed unlike blue collar

crimes that seem to affect most people. White collar crimes take different forms like corporate

crimes, fraud, computer crimes, political corruption and occupational crimes. The main reason

behind white collar crime is financial incentive (Vadera, & Aguilera, 2014). Most people who

commit these crimes always want to make money in the shortest time possible without having to

work for it. Some of these criminals carefully plan their activities to avoid being caught or to

even frame for their crimes.

Fear of falling is another reason why white collar criminals commit the crime. White

collar criminals fear to lose their profession or their status in the society and they will do

anything to keep themselves up. Such criminals are happy about their achievements and are not

always willing to lose their positions (Craig, & Piquero, 2016). As the economy changes, people

who have reached high levels of wealth and power will take whatever they can before their

achievements and successes are replaced by the changing economy. Just like individual greed,

corporate greed does exist as a result of shareholder pressure to increase corporate profits. This

then forces management to engage in fraudulent activities just to increase the earning per share

and protect the image of their corporations.

Political corruption is one major form of white collar crimes that has affected many

political systems around the globe. It has deprived the society of the morals and ethics that used

to make a government. Moreover, it undermines development of the society and the trust of

people in the government. Political corruption makes goods expensive, impairs development, and

makes most people poorer and few people richer. Underdeveloped nations have huge

government debts, as a result of the few rich squandering the borrowed funds for personal

projects. However, the burden of payment is always left in the hands of the poor citizens.

Political corruption takes place in numerous ways such as bribes, misuse of government

resources and use of public resources for personal gains (Craig, & Piquero, 2016). In most

governments, bribes are the main tools of corruption and it entails the use of money by an

outside party to obtain certain favours and secure desired action from government officials.

Bribes influence the allocation of monetary benefits and can be used to reduce the

amount of taxes and other levies collected by the government. According to the World Bank, 5%

of the funds for contacts are awarded to public officials for using their bargaining power to

award these contracts either to friends, associates or family members (Goel, & Saunoris, 2016).

The implication of such allocation strategies is that quality is never considered in the completion

of the required projects. Further, corrupt government officials engage in the misuse of public

property and funds. These officials would overspend the funds allocated to their different

departments without considering the budget constraints. Moreover, government officials

sometimes ask for bribes and kickbacks from private agents who may be interested in

government-related deals. For example, private agencies bribe government representatives to be

awarded tenders or access to government resources.

Political corruption is also exhibited in situations where government representatives or

other political leaders use their power to allocate themselves public resources. It is a common

practice in some parts of the world for leaders to allocate themselves huge parcels of land which

is supposed to benefit the general public, huge mansions belonging to the government and built

by public resources, and other-related government resources. At the same time, many states

around the world have lost a lot of money due to unnecessary wastages and extravagance from

public officials (Craig, & Piquero, 2016). For example, the former president of Philippines was

accused of stealing millions of dollars from his country; he had diverted foreign aid into personal

use. Another case in Africa is where the Gambian immediate former president literally took all

the money in treasury and fled the country when he was put under pressure by ECOWAS to step

aside. Similarly, influence peddling is when high ranking people use their status to trade business

with high government officials. According to Goel and Saunoris (2016) there is money to be

made through sale of access to government resources, the arrangement of contracts and timely

intervention to secure favorable disposition of regulatory decisions and government contracts.

The use of these kinds of connections for personal gain is described as influence peddling.

Political corruption also takes into perspective the allocation of government roles to

friends or people regarded as loyal to the government. Although regulation in the civil service

and national state can effectively reduce the number of patronage jobs, political appointments

still take the form of patronage. In this case, leaders tend to reward their friends or loyalists.

There are three types of patronage and they include; nepotism shared experience and shared

interest. Further, there are several reasons that cause political corruption (Craig, & Piquero,

2016). These causes are; lack of accountability in the government, lack of tight regulations, low

wage rates, cultural environments that condone corruption, personal greed and decline in

personal ethical society sensitivity. Personal greed is one of the major causes of political

corruption making people desire more money and power without caring which means they use to

acquire that money and power and without moral boundaries whatsoever. Government officials

have the highest appetite for more money and power that the more they get the more they work

to increase what they have.

In some cases, low wages have been linked to corruption cases. However, this is not

common as most government officials tend to earn high incomes as opposed to those in other

sectors. Moreover, those working in the government are not subjected to high pressure activities.

At the same time, poorly drafted laws and regulations on corruption also create many

opportunities for people to engage in corruption without the fear of being prosecuted or receive

injunctions for their actions. For example, ill-defined technology and imprecise drafting gives tax

and custom officers a higher margin of discretion which they use to receive bribes and extort

money from the innocent tax payers (Vadera, & Aguilera, 2014). This is also true when tax rates

are high. If taxes are higher and the tax burden is high, government officials will be motivated to

engage in corruption activities so that they be able to afford the otherwise increased cost of


Lack of transparency and accountability in government institutions is also a major reason

why state officials engage in corruption. Most government systems are not transparent enough

since there is a lot of discretion and there is a general lack of accountability in government

offices. Huge junks public funds are withdrawn and spend on personal matters but no one cares

to explain why the money meant for top government investments end up in personal investments.

Political corruption has a major impact on the economic and social stability of the society.

Political corruption has damaging effects on the allocation of public resources because it diverts

those resources away from the purpose they were intended for. High corruption tends to be

associated with higher public investment and reduces government revenue, which in its place

reduces the resources available to finance spending, including public investment. Corruption not

only affects budget investments but also reduce government revenue which is important for

development (Vadera, & Aguilera, 2014). Political corruption can lead to tax evasion and a poor

tax administration system. Some high ranking government officials may through having effect

on tax and custom officials create favorable tax policies for their families, friends and even their

own businesses which can create monopolies and oligopolies, inhibit competition and undermine

the government role in facilitating private sector growth.

Political corruption is also the main reason for great under development in third world

countries. Money obtained mainly through taxation, loans and grants continually gets misused by

only a small percentage of those individuals in power (Schoepfer, Carmichael, & Piquero, 2007).

There is misappropriation of government funds especially in developing nations where

politicians use public money to undertake personal investments like buying big mansions cars

and even illegally grabbing public land which in turn slows down growth. Their desire to make

money makes them to delay clearing projects or delay industry processes and delay investments

(Klenowski, Copes, & Mullins, 2011). Political corruption also leads to lack of proper justice.

Corruption in the judicial system leads to injustices being committed against people that might

not have money and power. Sometimes investigation processes are prolonged due to political

influence just to avoid punishing the culprits. A crime may be proved as a benefit of doubt due to

lack of evidence or even erase evidence to protect the criminals that have influence and power.

Political corruption also leads to people losing faith and trust in the political system.

Citizens elect people into those offices because they trust they are in a better position to help

them but when they get into power they forget the sole reasons why they are there. They instead

maximize their gains and use every possible chance they have to make themselves richer.

Several reforms can be put in place to combat political corruption in many states like budget

reforms for example. Governments should undertake projects that will not give them resource

constraints. They should enable projects and programs be implemented efficiently and

effectively by developing functional budget processes and allocate resources strategically (Levi,

2006). There should be frequent reports on the implementation of the budget and allow

comparisons between the budgeted and the actual revenues and expenditures. Government

institutions should also be encouraged to produce regular reports on their activities and financial

results and any disparities or misappropriations should be accounted tracked to the end.

Audit and control is also an important tool to increase efficiency in the allocation of

public resources. The introduction of auditing will in a way help to minimize corruption

activities because those who engage in those activities will be caught during the auditing process

and be brought to book before they even do a greater damage to the people of the state. Tax and

custom departments should be included in national strategies aimed at controlling corruption.

Tax laws should be simplified and clearly defined because ill-defined technology and imprecise

drafting give opportunities for the tax and custom officers an opportunity to collect bribes and

steal government resources (Shekhar, & Showkat, 2014). Organizational restructuring and

system controls that require supervisors can also help reduce corruption in government


In conclusion, high levels of corruption have adverse effects on economic, social and

political development in the society and serious and robust reforms should be undertaken to

eradicate the alarming levels of corruption around the globe. Developing and under-developed

countries should immediately find new measures of dealing with corruption in their countries if

they have to liberate its people from the bond of poverty. Likewise white collar criminals should

be prosecuted or given other serious forms of punishment in order to reduce the rate of their

occurrences. Basically, the growth of any economy is anchored in the type of leadership.


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