Corruption not only a South Africanism

 ·10 Dec 2013
Corruption bribery

The United Nations estimates that approximately $1 trillion is paid in bribes globally each year, while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – equivalent to more than 5% of the global GDP.

“It is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world,” the world body said.

The UN said that corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organised criminal networks and promote crimes such as human trafficking, arms and migrant smuggling, counterfeiting and the trade in endangered species.

In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance (ODA).

The World Bank estimated that every year between $20 billion and $40 billion is lost from developing countries due to corruption and bribery.

In South Africa, the 2013 edition of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), showed that perceived levels of government corruption in South Africa have increased.

South Africa has slipped down three places from 69th to 72nd out of 177 countries in Transparency International’s index.

The Index gives South Africa a score of 42 out of 100, down from 43 in 2012, with zero being highly corrupt.

The country has slipped from a ranking of 38th in 2001, and 43rd in 2007.

  • 2009 – 55th
  • 2010 – 54th
  • 2011 – 64th
  • 2012 – 69th
  • 2013 – 72nd

Keeran Madhav, director at Mazars Forensics Services noted on CNBC Africa that it would have been difficult to establish accurate data as the very nature of  corruption and bribery was to conceal. Only reported cases would provide statistics on which to base the report.

Madhav, however, estimated that companies in SA lost up to 5% of revenue due to fraud annually.

He pointed to the ‘theory’ that 10% will steal from you, 10% won’t steal from you, and the other 80% fall somewhere in between.

In order to prevent fraud and corruption, Madhav said it was up to senior managers to set the tone, and lead by example.

More on corruption

South Africa corruption on the rise

South Africa slips in global prosperity index

Brics companies need to be more transparent: report

SA losing corruption war

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