Corruption – Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

Alejandro Salas is the Regional Director for the Americas at Transparency International. The following article was first published on Fox News.

As a Mexican living in GermanyI sometimes forget certain things about my country of origin. I am not referring to my mother’s breakfast enchiladas or the long spicy lunches on Saturdays eating with friends and listening to ranchero songs about love and heartbreak. What I tend to forget, though, are those things that made my day-to-day life difficult. One of those things is corruption.

In the decade between graduating from high school and emigrating from Mexico, I was exposed to no less than ten situations in which my integrity was tested. I was either asked for a bribe or put in a position to offer one to speed up paperwork or help get me out of an uncomfortable incident. This is not so striking if we consider that Transparency International’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer identified that almost a quarter of surveyed citizens in Latin America had paid a bribe to access public services such as health and education in the previous twelve months.

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Alejandro Salas

About Alejandro Salas

Alejandro Salas is Regional Director for the Americas at Transparency International.

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One Response to Corruption – Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

  1. KALYAN GHOSH 29 October 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Respected Mr. Alejandro Salas,
    Thanks for sharing your feelings. Main cause of escalation of corruption level is controlling authorities remain unperturbed to commoner’s report/complaint on corruption. I have experienced it here in India.
    Prevalent wide spread corruption in India has been condemned in the world over. At this juncture, Transparency International India’s invulnerability is indeed a big question mark.
    India Government is trying their best to thwart Anna ji’s campaign against corruption. Washing dirty linen in public will never get them mass support. Their [on the whole every political party’s] bastion of corrupt governance is at stake now, so these burst outs are from ruling party members. Other political parties have sealed their mouth with watch and wait strategy. Justice and truth shall prevail. Mass uprising/awareness will decide fate of the nation. Out bursts and counter out bursts will ultimately yield no conclusion. Isn’t it ironic that grievance redressal system is in total chaos in India? My sister-in-law’s service tenure is snatched away by the Director, Directorate of Secondary Education, HRD, Jharkhand. Competent authorities do not pay any heed to it. There is no provision to settle this ambiguity through electronic media. Jharkhand Government web portal do not have any option. No e-mail addresses of the chief secretary, Honorable Governor. Email address of honorable C.M. seems to be dormant, as no response to mails, incorrect e-mail addresses of nodal officers etc. A blatant lapse of government’s e-governance plan. N.I.C. can not help which they have asserted through e-mail. D.I.T. has acknowledged complaint but keeps mum. Honorable D.C., Ranchi has forwarded her representations to appropriate authorities three times, but these too have failed to yield any result. He has expressed his inability as well. Sri Yashwant Sinha, Honorable M.P. has forwarded her representation to Sri B N Ram, Honorable HRD Minister, Jharkhand. Several registered complaints of DARPG, President’s Secretariat Help Line, NCW, CORE Center, letter from PMO, have failed too to break silence of the concerned authority. A news report; Hindustan Times, Ranchi, 3rd September, 2010, has exposed the whole episode. All these things indicate collapse of governance. The matter has been brought to the notice of almost all the conceivable authorities. Transparency International India initially backed up but ultimately has failed to settle this logjam. Ms. Anupama Jha, Executive Director and Mr. Anshul Jain Regional Coordinator East Zone had taken personal interest and have communicated the same, but silence of the authority prevailed. Coexistence of exposed corruption with corruption watch dog organizations is a mockery.
    To combat with such gross injustice a robust, unbiased, transparent and accountable system has to be adopted to save the nation from further disgrace and humiliation. I wish Transparency International India take cognizance of the situation and extend whole hearted support to aggrieved, hapless commoner in India.