THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman this week published a small list of people who were convicted of corruption last year as part of its name-and-shame campaign.
While the Ombudsman’s move is commendable, and its exercise to weed out corruption has the support of all stakeholders, this year’s list of shame is again disappointing. It is inconceivable that the few cases of corruption are to be found only among the lower classes of society.
Farmers, drivers, village mediators, and even prisoners, dominate those convicted of graft, and the amounts involved are negligible. Year in year out, it is the same classes of people who face the music; Does it mean that the above are the darkest horses in our society? Is there no white collar graft?
Failure to pursue and nail the big fish only makes them bolder, and in this technological era, ingenious means of beating the system are at their disposal. There have been cases where senior officials abuse tendering procedures, usually involving millions of francs. In most cases, those involved are dismissed and arraigned before courts. But they never appear anywhere in the Ombudsman’s name-and-shame list. Why?
The fanfare that accompanied the publishing of the latest names is not commensurate with the bagged prey, neither were the sanctions meted out. In the spirit of fairness, it’s important that the names of the culpable ‘big fish’ are included on the list as well.