What is Corruption?

There is no single universally accepted definition for the word corruption. Its definition is often influenced by some one who uses the word. This is so because different societies at different times and in different cultures have different views on what is wrong and what is right.

In the Ethiopian context, for example, there were times when bribery and nepotism were not considered to be a ‘motivational’ factor, not an offence. Nepotism was also regarded as a positive approach to help friends and relatives. According to the Anti-Corruption Act (No.236/2001) of the Laws of Ethiopia, ‘‘corruption Offence” means any offence committed in relation to government or public service or public interest in violation of the duties proper to a government or a public service by seeking, exacting promise, or receiving any gratification or advantage for himself or for other person or group of persons, or inflicting harm on another person; and includes corruption practices, acceptance of undue advantage, traffic in official in influence, abuse of power, maladministration, appropriation and misappropriation in discharge of duties, extortion and disclosure of secret and other things. On the other hand, Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Corruption may also manifests itself in the private aspects of life such as looting, cheating, lying, manipulation, embezzlement, extortion, and disclosure of threats and exploitation of others and situations for private gains at the expense of the common good of the society.