Despite the uproar and criticism which trailed Mr David Cameron’s description of Nigeria and Afghanistan as fantastically corrupt, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is correct (and even the Nigerian President agrees). Corruption is so embedded into the everyday life in Nigeria that the head of the previous government tried to reduce its influence by declaring that not every stealing should be considered corruption.
The present state (or situation, if you like) of Afghanistan is itself a creation of corruption—of invading powers (Russia) and interfering powers (the US, Pakistan and co) as well as via the campaign of terrorism and counter terrorism. So yes, Mr Cameron is correct with his statement, he only left out some facts, among which are that his country, the UK, its key ally the US, and several Western nations are just as fantastically corrupt as Nigeria and Afghanistan. The difference between both categories of nations is only a matter of semantics, not substance.
Corruption in the UK goes right up to the Prime Minister himself. A simple Google search of “David Cameron” produces “Panama Papers,” and links to his admittance of profiting from a Panama-based offshore trust set up by his tax-evading late father. However, Corruption in the UK goes well beyond the alleged dealings of Mr Cameron and pervades how the large British corporations do business and influence government actions.
For example, the Financial Times in April, reported that the 10 biggest misconduct scandals have cost the Britain’s banks and building societies almost £53bn in fines and other penalties since 2000. Another word for “misconduct scandals” is of course Fantastical Corruption, and the Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s biggest bank, has singularly paid £14bn in such charges between 2010 and 2014.
Corruption in the United States of America can be seen through the country’s many economic antitheses. The US is the richest country in the history of the world but has over 45 million people in abject poverty, and despite having the largest number of multinationals, it has an unemployment rate of 10 percent, thanks to their pervasive attitude of offshoring jobs for cheap labour.
It was also the widespread financial corruption on Wall street—the financial centre of US and the World—which led to America’s greatest economic recession in a century and crashed economies around the world. The influence of corporate money in American politics is even much worse than in than in (you may want to add Fantastically Corrupt) third world countries, thanks to a 2010 US Supreme Court judgement that among other things, allowed unlimited financial donations to so-called Political Action Committees. Such overt influence of money in American politics is one of the reasons 75 percent of the American public see Widespread Government Corruption, more than 60 percent of the citizens do not trust the US Federal Government to handle domestic issues and 7 in 10 Americans disapprove of the US Congress.
Corruption is just as prevalent in Europe, visible in the economic wreck of Greece and woes of Spain, Italy and Portugal, the recent resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland over the Panama Papers Scandal, the ongoing tax fraud trial of Princess Cristina of Spain, the elder sister of King Felipe VI and sixth in line to the Spanish throne and the corruption scandal rocking German Car giant Volkswagen, to name but a few.
It is due to such widespread corruption that European citizens are increasingly losing faith in their governments and turning to far right/left parties (the Front Nationale in France and Podemos in Spain). Thus, from West Africa to the Western World, the scourge of corruption is, to borrow David Cameron’s word, Fantastical. It is only by admitting this, rather than revelling in slurring developing nations, that any meaningful victory can be achieved in fighting corruption.
Corruption is not only rife everywhere, it is interconnected and often has the same principal actors. The African leaders who have looted, and are still looting, their countries’ wealth would not have been able to do so without the support of top ranking business and political leaders in the West. The Swiss system of absolute banking secrecy was arguably put in place to abet the stashing of secret wealth, a venture in which the City of London is increasingly the global leader.
According to Rules.Org, “the City of London is at the centre of the global web of tax havens that are aiding and abetting the theft of vast sums of money from the public around the world. More than half of the ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ identified by the Tax Justice Network have supply chain links to the UK. Crown
Dependencies like Jersey and British Overseas Territories like the Cayman and British Virgin Islands rely on the City of London – on its permissive legal structures, tax rules and, crucially, its reputation for stability – for a large part of their business.” In essence, Panama is a piece of cake when it comes to the City of London.
In light of the above, it is significant then, that the Anti-Corruption Summit was held in London. This is because the most effective way to tackle the global wave of corruption will be to start at the root and this is where we often find the global controllers of capital—the multinational corporations and banking giants built out of the US, the UK and Europe.
It is not a coincidence that the biggest corruption scandals have emanated, not from Nigeria or Afghanistan, but from Western Multinational giants such as the now-defunct Lehman Brothers. Tackling global corruption would thus require taming the excesses of these multinationals which often instigates corruption, tightening the financial sector of developed countries whose looseness aids and abets corruption everywhere and trimming down the corporate influence in the politics of the Western World. These measures, not calling countries like Nigeria and Afghanistan names, would be much more effective in battling global corruption.
Culled from http://venturesafrica.com