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Corruption is the abuse or misuse of trust or power for personal benefits rather than the reasons for which that trust or power was given, hence decreasing trust levels in society, individuals, and institutions.


Power and trust may reside in the hands of not necessarily someone in an office but someone in a position for which you desperately need their service.


Abuse and misuse of trust are dependent on the laws of a body, country, or institution. A hypothetical example could be that in some international institutions, it is okay to take bribes for services rendered in a particular country whereas, this same institution might sanction a culprit in another country when found. This hypothesis is based on the laws of the institution.

But consider this too where a non-profit institution might have in its culture for its workers to use miscellaneous( unused resources) for themselves but considers it abuse or misuse when the workers use resources when they are actually needed.


In the general definition, “personal benefits rather than the reasons for which that trust or power was given”, creates this impression that some activities are termed “corrupt” when an individual takes something for his or her selfish gains for services rendered that are meant for a larger body or institution.

A better example could be when a deal becomes successful and the individual decides to keep some percentage of the actual amount for himself.


This form of trust is very valuable and the key to the socio-economic development of a country. When trust is established between institutions and individuals and firms, there’s effective collaboration, innovation, and eventually improved productivity, hence generalized trust is established when people/ strangers behave as they are supposed to.


It is every individual’s duty to protect their reputation(what you esteem )just as preserving their culture. If you lose your reputation, you lose everything. This is why people might be rich today and suddenly go bankrupt for engaging in corrupt acts.



The way people think when deciding to involve in a corrupt act;

Bp > Cpsy + PP( Ccrim + Csoc) + Cfav

Bp: The Perceived Benefit is weighed against the following;

PP: The perceived probability is made of the criminal cost and the social cost.

Cpsy: Psychic Cost: the guilt or feeling bad for doing evil.

Ccrim: Criminal cost- imposed punishment eg fired from a job when caught for being corrupt.

Csoc: Social cost-fear of being ostracized by society.

Cfav: Cost of doing the corrupt act. eg the cost(stress or pain)of having to go through a financial document to ensure that the figures tally across the document.



Most people would say they aren’t corrupt but per the numerous types of corruption I came across, I could say someway somehow we might have been involved in some sort of corrupt activity, hence we don’t need to curse or say politicians are corrupt, what of you?

Corruption comes in so many forms/ types but here are a few;

  • Cronyism & Nepotism: giving appointments to friends, relatives, and associates to positions of authority, without giving proper thought to their qualifications. Kindly use this link for a better understanding. People are giving some favoritism based on religion, tribe, school attended, and mates….
  • Extortion; is normally experienced in boarding schools in some countries. Seniors extort their juniors of provisions and money.
  • Bribery
  • Theft
  • Embezzlement



Corruption hurts especially the psychic cost impose on society, corruption affects governments, society, economics, and the environment especially when resources are diverted to non-profitable use;

  • This leads to things becoming defunct; the halting of affordable housing projects where the houses are left for years to decay under the weather and become homes to animals and hideout to evil-doers while people struggle for accommodation.
  • Corrupt nations are denied investments/ relationships with foreign institutions generally because of mistrust. For example, giving scholarships to “disabled people” only to realize that they are well-abled individuals.
  • Parallel institutions are created when people believe some institutions are corrupt so they establish similar institutions and since these parallel institutions are governed by individuals, they are limited to others hence these limits compel others to create other parallel institutions (Black markets and the like)hence, the state loses money in the form of taxes because they are unable to monitor such transaction.
  • Projects are done with unrecommended or cheap materials leading to the collapse of structures; bridges, stadia, and malls(the collapse of a newly constructed mall led to numerous deaths) in the long run.
  • Quality of education is affected
  • The environment is polluted
  • Lose of customers and old friendships
  • Clearly spell out instructions


How to handle corruption

Someway somehow corrupt individuals leave some tail trail signs which gets people caught in the long run in spite of the shared trust established between the corrupt individuals. Below are how to handle or curb corruption:

  • Open forum
  • Leadership by example.
  • Mock auditing.
  • Certification programs
  • Education/ training & retraining
  • Enforce rules and constant scrutiny



Measuring corruption can be difficult but using these three approaches could help know the value of corruption:

  • The frequency for which the corrupt activity occurs.
  • The amount gained by the abuser.
  • Value lost to corruption in the form of money that would have been a taxable amount to the government.

Build trust, and guard your reputation.


For more information visit transparency international,

For a course on corruption, visit here

December 22, 2023

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