Public Service Delivery and Empowerment
Edited by Anil B. Deolalikar, Shikha Jha and Pilipinas F. Quising
Chapter 5: Corruption in Asia and the Pacific: a manifestation of weak governance
Weak governance is often assumed to be synonymous with corruption; however, corruption is an outcome of bad governance. Governance relates to the state’s authority and capability through rules and institutions to manage the process of development and to provide public services. Corruption on the other hand refers to the use of public office for personal gain, and is reflected in, among other things, money laundering, bribes to government officials (even for routine public services), ghost beneficiaries of public programs, the diversion of supplies, the use of substandard construction material and embezzlement of funds. Such practices are commonplace in Asia and the Pacific. When laws are not enforced, police officers get away with charging motorists with bogus traffic violations and municipal officials demand payment for legitimate connections of piped water to residences. Without adequate awareness and voice, the poor are denied benefits to which they are entitled. In education and health, corruption undermines the provision of these basic public services when teachers skip class or doctors fail to attend public health clinics. In all these areas, public officials need to be held accountable for their services.
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