Thursday, January 21, 2021

Is Bribery a victimless crime?


The notion of bribery as a victimless crime has resulted in countless disaster costing vast economic-financial losses and people’s lives.

Bribery is used as an excuse to get things done faster, to cut through bureaucratic processes, to gain access to non-public available information, to avoid fines and all sort of activities that portray bribery a victimless crime. 

However, going beyond the actors involved in bribery shows a more damaging activity to the integrity of governmental, financial and regulatory institutions. In May 2013, the worst industrial accident in Dhaka costs more than 1000 people their lives in a collapsed factory. 

Circumventing regulations via bribery puts a dent in the economy of Bangladesh, which in turn affect more people than the reported death toll.  Similar incidents are recorded frequently in third world countries with no international coverage, albeit at a smaller scale.

Rationalising bribery as a victimless crime demonstrate short-sightedness of the actors in achieving personal or business goals. 

Bribery is not a third world problem, some would argue citizens of first world countries are the principal drivers of bribery in the third world countries. There are classic examples of large corporate institutions paying a huge bribe to the government of third world countries to ensure the monopoly of natural resources.


Statistics for Bribery

Top Five Enforcement Actions against Large Corporations (source: Stanford Law School

Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Country(ies) Where Bribes Were Paid
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Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Industry


Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Total Bribery


Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Profit from Bribes


Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Revenue from Bribes


Groups of Related Enforcement Actions Total Sanction


Tackling bribery should start with awareness of the pyramidic chaos it can bring upon a country or organisation. The international organisations must do more to not encourage bribery at either local level or international level. 


It is never a “win-win” situation in bribery, putting short-term financial gains of few selected individuals or organisations above the economic interest of a country is akin to slavery


The push for a win at all cost is not a justification for bribery.

There are victims at the end of bribery activities, no justification or illusion is enough to think otherwise.

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