BIBLE VERSUS CORRUPTION
are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is no-one who does good."
the fabric of public life in newly independent states runs the scarlet
thread of bribery and corruption." (Wraith & Simpkins 1968)
173, 2017 March)
condemns bribery, graft and extortion. A "World War On Bribery" began
in 1977 when the USA criminalized bribing public servants abroad.
Germany joined the "war" by an attack on bribery in Frankfurt. Other
In the legal and
moral sense corruption refers to:
Bribery: Abuse of public office by accepting payment to
discriminate in favour of the payer or to otherwise break the law;
Graft: Obtaining profit or advantage by dishonest means;
Extortion: Obtaining money by threatening to inflict harm or
In the Bible the
word “corruption” embraces the above but includes other immoral and
observes that: "Corrupt men are always liars. Lies are their
instruments, their pleasure, their solace. In time they come to believe
their lies or rather to half-believe them."
(1998) for Time magazine
reported "A World War On Bribery". Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko had
plundered Zaire's treasury of $1000 million during 32 years and
"bankrupted his country". In Italy prosecutions against top politicians
convicted 460 including a former two-time Prime Minister. In China
500,000 government or party officials were reportedly, "punished for
involvement in kickbacks and favouritism…"
In 1977 the U.S.
enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Walsh (1998) writes:
The costs of
corruption have reached earth-shaking proportions, prompting Herculean
international efforts to clear out the muck…
Chile last April at the Summit of the Americas, President Bill Clinton
and other heads of government up and down the New World reaffirmed a
commitment to ending corruption. More crucially, the world's 29 richest
countries and five others are in a process of passing laws to crack
down on the bribery of foreign officials…
effect, the signatories promise to do what the U.S. alone has done
since 1977: criminalize commercial payoffs by their nationals to public
In 1991 Die Welt (Bonn) reported:
corruption were rampant for decades at the municipal roadbuilding
department in Frankfurt am Main, one of the largest in Germany.
Unscrupulous officials had no qualms about demanding bribes…
municipal administration and the public prosecutor's office have worked
hand in glove to prosecute 428 public officials…
may have put its house in order, but what about other sectors of the
public service? …
new director of public prosecutions, Christoph Schaefer, 55 … has set
out to eliminate corruption in the public service and says that
corruption, which has now even reached the police and the courts, is
the subsoil "in which the monstrosity of organised crime flourishes." …
the Frankfurt area alone nearly 1,000 people, public service and
company officials, are or have been under investigation in connection
with bribery and corruption allegations.
corruption is not limited to Frankfurt. It occurs all over Germany...
reported that Columbia, India, France, South Korea, Japan, Spain,
Italy, Mexico, Ecuador and Kenya, among other countries, "have been
shaken by corruption scandals reaching into the top levels of
government." In Italy a probe of politicians and businessmen led to
1000 people being jailed; in India 25 top politicians were forced to
The exposure of
corruption was: "powered by … the spread of democracy to scores of once
authoritarian countries, with its concomitants: an independent-minded
judiciary, a free and nosy press, and unrigged elections in which
opposition parties have found charges of kickbacks and bribery powerful
vote getters." (ibid)
corruption reduces national productivity, thereby increases poverty and
misery. Church (1996) writes: "Also, corruption-ridden countries are
lousy competitors in the global economy; bribes and kickbacks kite
their costs of doing business too high."
cited the lead economist of the World Bank: "Now we have a plethora of
literature showing that corruption has a negative impact on all those
indicators we care about in development—economic growth, domestic and
foreign investment, poverty."
The Weekend Australian in 2011
officials siphoned off more than $114 billion out of the country in
less than two decades…
16,000 and 18,000 government officials and executives of state-owned
firms have fled China or simply vanished… (June 18-19, p. 19)
tremendous oil reserves Venezuelans should be prosperous, happy, and
secure. Instead Gallup has ranked Venezuela "the most insecure nation
in the world", and Transparency International its judicial system as
the world's most corrupt.
The murder rate
is among the world's highest; very few crimes result in prosecution;
looting of trucks and shops is common; sex trafficking is rife;
officials and police commonly cooperate with drug-traffickers and other
criminals; kidnappings for ransom number about 16,000 yearly; people
put enormous time and effort into self protection; and foreign
travelers stay away.
In Sicily the
Mafia is in decline. But in 2008 80% of businesses still paid
protection money: "The Mafia's annual rake-off was calculated at almost
€1billion, equivalent to 1.3% of Sicily's gross domestic product."
Islands a gold-mining company failed to reopen its goldmine because:
"police corruption, political collusion, and the fact that unless you
pay bribes nothing gets done, rendered the mine too lawless to
operate." (Higgins 2014) With corruption so rampant: "kids can't
get an education, hospitals are a disgrace, roads are full of holes,
public safety is an issue…"
New Guinea, Callick (2010) writes: "an extraordinary proportion of
public funds have been purloined by members of the elite, while 40 per
cent of Papua New Guineans live on less than $US1 … a day." The
consequences included declining government services, outbreaks of
disease, hospitals unable to buy equipment and life-expectancy in
China has joined
the war on corruption — President Xi launched a crackdown in 2013:
The Communist Party's
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reported yesterday that
182,000 officials nationwide were investigated by police for corruption
in the past year…
Xi said his government … would take a "zero tolerance" approach towards
government officials involved in graft and taking bribes… (Murdoch 2014)
common for the same reason that crime in general is common, because
people don't know right from wrong and easy money is tempting.
In the case of
bribery, clever men often find ways to disguise it. A bank, for
example, gave jobs to relatives of government officials in Asia to win
business. Viswanatha (2016) reports: "JPMorgan agreed to pay $US264m
and admitted it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — which bars
US firms from paying bribes to officials of foreign government to win
BIBLE AGAINST CORRUPTION
commends anyone who: "walks righteously and speaks what is right, who
rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes…"
and extortion along with attendant conduct such as deceit, lies and
violence are all condemned in the Bible. Regarding bribery see Exodus
23:8; Deuteronomy 10:17; I Samuel 8:1-3; Psalm 26:9-11; Proverbs 17:23;
Isaiah 1:23; 5:22-23; Amos 5:12; Micah 3:11; Titus 1:7.
corruption, in government, business and courts as well as by common
people, has been standard practice for thousands of years to the
economic detriment and impoverishment of all nations. This demonstrates
the truth of the biblical teaching that everyone is deceived, and
no-one, not even the most intelligent, knows right from wrong and does
only what is right.
"world war" on corruption benefits the world economically. But the
Bible, the "Word of God", got there first and taught life-improving
ethics thousands of years ago!
Grand larceny robs PNG of millions, The
Weekend Australian, June 12-13, 2010, Inquirer p. 4
Church, G.J. War
Against Sleaze, Time, May 6,
Aussies fail to eradicate graft… The
Weekend Australian, November 15-16, 2014, p. 13
Sicily Fights Back, Reader's Digest,
October 2011, 103-108
Murdoch, S. Xi
vows no mercy in China graft fight, The
Weekend Australian, January 16, 2014, p.7
Payne, R. 1975 The Corrupt Society, Praeger, p. 249
(translator) Stop bribery and corruption says public prosecutor, The German Tribune, 6 October 1991
- No. 1487, p. 8. Translated from Die
Welt, Bonn, 23 September, 1991
Bank's 'corrupt' $47m scheme, The
Weekend Australian, November 19-20, 2016, p. 30
Walsh, J. A
World War On Bribery, Time,
July 13, 1998, 37-43
Wraith, R. and
Simpkins, E. Corruption in Developing Countries, In: Kebschull, H.G.
(editor) 1968 Politics in
Transitional Societies, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 246-254
174, 2017 May)
case illustrating my article “The Bible Versus Corruption” (#173) is
the British engineering giant, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc.
A Google search
on "Rolls Royce Bribery Settlement" brings up a long list of reports.
Top of the list when I searched was:
Rolls-Royce will pay
over $800 million to settle bribery charges
17, 2017 - Tangled up in corruption investigations on three different
continents, Rolls-Royce will shell out more than $800 million to deal
with the legal fallout. The British engineering giant says it has
reached settlements with authorities in the U.K., the U.S. and Brazil
over bribery ...
management with the power to allocate money to pay bribes, would be
among the most intelligent on Earth.
And if the
brightest people are misguided and fail to distinguish right from
wrong, what about the majority of lower education?
This is actually
a theme of the Bible — that everyone thinks himself blameless but is
deceived and often does not know right from wrong.
A history of
Rolls-Royce Holdings is at: