Spotlight: The Victims of Corruption

The human cost of bribery in the developing world

February 24, 2009
Spotlight: The Victims of Corruption
"Spotlight" explores the complex world of corporate corruption and those fighting its spread. Watch web exclusive interview clips from the FRONTLINE documentary "Black Money."
The International Fight Against Bribery; An interactive map examining the world's biggest corruption cases

Interactive Timeline: Corruption in the Crosshairs: A brief history of international anti-bribery legislation

According to a 2004 study by the World Bank Institute, $1 trillion is paid every year in bribes worldwide. Many agree that the victims of bribery are often those living in poverty in the developing world, in countries rich in resources but dominated by corrupt governments. While the vast majority of these citizens remain very poor, often living on $1 a day, their elected officials accumulate enormous personal wealth, taking millions in bribes from corporations looking to secure lucrative contracts. Research by Transparency International shows that bribery not only stymies development, it also impacts health services, literacy rates and the environment. In the above video clip, experts talk about some of the countries hardest hit by a culture of corruption.
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In developing countries, the evil of corruption has corroded the wheels of progress. No where is this more effectively seen than in Nigeria where it has become a way of life. From the leaders to the followers, people take turns, while the country withers.

Of course the corruption is terrible in third world countries, but where does most of the money come from that fuels this corruption?It comes from rich, first world countries, rich first world governments that wish to control other countries, and rich multi-national corporations that extract natural resources and set up markets all over the world.I have no doubt that the people I have seen speaking here intend something positive, but they should speak of this dynamic in the rich countries (and how poverty exists in their own societies, too, that hasn't been overcome) and of their own, no doubt, comfortable and wealthy lives that prosper from the way the rich-poor structure functions.

olusola Akande - Fontana, Ca
Nigeria is the principal beneficiary of absolute corruption. While the citizens are buried under crushing poverty, the leaders were living opulently. Average Nigerians can barely make a living on a daily basis. While a great country is bless with abundant natural resources to enrich it's people, the political elites prefer to siphon the treasury.

Nancy Swan - Mobile, Alabama, USA
Corruption cases will end up in courts that are also battling their own corruption (see Frontline's "Justice for Sale,")
Until there is effective and enforced protection for corruption whisleblowers, global bribery will only get worse. As this article points out, the victims of bribery are often the poor, but they are also the middle class, everyday Americans. "Toxic Justice" is my memoir and book how I went from injured teacher to judicial corruption whistleblower. I became one of many victims of judicial revenge and retribution. is our stories, of the dangers we face to expose corruption that explains the real problem behind corruption -- its concealment.

Edison, USA
I am glad to see this issue is brought to the foreront. This a very important issue and does impact a large section of the world population. These corrupt leaders, many in developing countries, hide their assets in the West, specifically Swiss accounts with the help of the banks and powerful connections in the West. For example in India, one of the most corrupt countries, many of the politicians are worth 100's of millions and many cases are worth billions, all of which has come from corrution and scaming pubic funds. It is belived India has the number 1 on the list of swiss secrect accounts. I hope some of these leaders names are brougt out in this discussion and exposed. I also feel many of the African leaders should be stripped of the wealth and imprisioned. Also I would like to see a lot pressure on the Swiss banks and any western banks for helping these very corrupt people.

Douglas Samson Dr. Idehen - 44787 Bochum, Germany
After almost 49 years after Independence Nigeria, with her plenty of light superior oil from Bonny Island, she is still fighting to reduce poverty. The majority of the people are poorer today than 49 years ago. The "resource curse" has affected Nigeria like most of oil producing countries, where the majority of the inhabitants are becoming poorer and destitute, despite the "Black Gold" as it is sometimes called.

This is due to the fact that oil money meant for infrastructure development such as good roads, good hospitals, constant light, a sound educational system etc, ends up in ministers private accounts in Europe and America.

The stolen money is in the hands of few with political power while more than 98% of the masses go empty handed.

Because of such widespread corruption the majority of the people from developing countries will be living with US$2 a day. These suffering masses need help as quickly as possible.

All stolen money from developing countries must be repatriated without any legal processing. The owners of such stolen money must be tried in court in the Hague. They should be imprisoned for life and their properties confiscated.

dan de kine - Honolulu, HI
Very interesting data. I was misinformed that drugs were getting wiped out bit by bit.


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