Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cynical Acceptance of Corruption?

When corruption reaches the highest levels of an African government and the donor governments know what is going on while they continue to pour millions in the name of ‘aid’ into the clutches of the same government ministers, something is really wrong with their good sense of right and wrong, and their priorities.

Alex Singleton of the Globalisation Institute writes consistent sense about the vast and extravagant waste of taxpayers’ money on so-called ‘aid’ (read it regularly at:

He quotes a piece from The Guardian (UK) that would be astonishing if it was only published in ‘Private Eye’, the satirical weekly, but it is beyond that when a daily newspaper features it (and, I might add a daily Newspaper with a less than approving attitude from those concerned about the views of some of its columnists on subjects like terrorism).

“In Kenya, it is increasingly clear that UK taxpayers are getting poor value for the development aid they are sending. As
the Guardian reported yesterday, Kenya's anti-corruption tsar went AWOL, eventually found hiding in an Oxford college. "It didn't take a genius, after all, to guess that when the official responsible for policing an African government's finances flees, something is seriously amiss," says the Guardian. The paper continues:

The contents of a 36-page dossier compiled in exile are being drip-fed to a transfixed audience. His dossier accuses a clutch of key ministers, including the finance minister, of setting up bogus contracts designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds. The scandal stretches to the top, for, despite being briefed by Githongo, President Mwai Kibaki took no action. All those named protest their innocence. But if the claims are true - and few whistleblowers come with more credibility than Githongo - Kenya's three-year-old government has not so much broken with the sleazy practices of Daniel arap Moi's administration as raised them to new levels of sophistication.”

Just what are the ‘reasons of state’ that justify accepting this behaviour as worthy of British taxpayers giving up part of their incomes to fund the bank accounts of already rich ministers? It reminds me of the evident truth of the remark that foreign aid ‘took money from the poor in the rich world to give to the rich in the poor world’.

Adam Smith witnessed much corruption in British governments in the 18th century. This behaviour continued into the early 19th century in so-called ‘subsidies’ to European monarchs to keep them on the British side in its wars. For all that Britain apparently does at the highest level in ensuring ‘blind eyes’ at turned by Ministers to the corruption of foreign governments who take sustenance out of the mouths of their people, their corrupt clients can hardly ever be accused of being partial to public support for the international policies of Britain in any for a the craven ministers attend. So their complicity in funding the corrupt does not even produce what they normally call ‘value for money’! Their corrupt clients usually over themselves in the rush to condemn Britain on the big issues of the day.

Those who deal in corruption by knowingly funding it, ignoring it when it is exposed or defending it for 'reasons of state', end up as corrupt as the people they force UK taxpayers to fund. Worse, their silence when it is exposed, as it is today in Alex Singleton’s blog and The Guardian newspaper, is as good as lying about it too.


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