Bribery 101 – how (not) to improve Nepali Kleptocracy

The morning breakfast discussion today was about Syria and how the Assad regime is killing people in the name of rebel politics. We all agreed on strongly condemning  the use of Nerve gas, but were divided on foreign intervention to a country in Civil War. Through some interesting topics that included crazy North Korean leader, to Geese chasing dogs, and Orange Chicken Eggs, we then turned to bribery. This got interesting on one fact on how developed nations when compared to developing ones (like Nepal) have legalized way of bribing, and how “pre” and “post” bribing makes a difference.

World Map
image – perception of corruption

Regular Nepali Bribing – the post bribing affairIn Nepal and most of the South Asia (personal generalized notion), we have a form of bribing which is crude and rudimentary.  Though there is a strong culture of political campaign bribing as a form of pre bribing; most of the bribing is done only after the one is in post/power. “The One” here denotes the individuals/organization or corporation who are at the receiving end of bribery. For better understanding let us give these cohort some names.

  • giver (lets call them – “G”)  =  any individual/organization or corporation who are giving bribes, and/or who want certain specific things get done.
  • taker (lets call them – “T”)= any individual/organization or corporation who are taking bribes, and/or whi have the power to get something done.

Two pre bribing examples in Nepal

  • Business and Cooperate House bribing the Tax Collecting Institutes [only after there is a problem]
  • Employees, managers, or salespeople of a business may offer money or gifts to a potential client in exchange for business.

In both these cases, bribing is the affair among the one who can make a difference, and the one who wants to get the difference. Developed Bribing – the pre bribing affair The knowledge of “pre-bribibg” is very new to me, and as such, I may not have the grasp of the idea presented here. Any comments/examples and suggestions are highly welcome. The pre bribing efforts are bigger compared to post bribing, in a sense that there is high stake game here among both the parties. Bribing here is more akin to the political campaign, before “T”s are in position/power to make a difference. This came as a very interesting thought to me, as “T”s have not yet reached to a position that can make a difference. Bribing now, is in no means a bribe, but a mere help for future assurance. The amount of money (or any replacement of it) is in larger proportion and with a more rigid stance for future obligations between both the “G”s and “T”s.

The comparison

# feature post bribing pre bribing
1 money involved less very high
2 momentum of bribe less more
3 assurance security for “T”s immediate late
4 stakes for both “G”s and “T”s low high
5 benefits short-term long-term
6 area involved mostly in developing world, involving smaller population and unstable governments.- plus political campaigns mostly in developed world with large cash reserves and stable governments.

The Fundamentals of Bribing

  1. Shakedown
  2. Negotiation
  3. Deal

(Bad) examples of bribing in Nepal (for my age)

  • Bribing the traffic police within the city – to get away with driving under alcohol
  • Bribing the traffic police / regular police on the highway – to get away with .. (so many things, except may be killing)
  • Bribing to get Drivers License – last I checked it was Nrs.14,000 for a combo license for bikes and four wheels (small). Don’t know what it is today. Disclosure – I got my license in all legal and legitimate method.
  • Bribing at government offices

3 Rules – of (not) Bribing

This is the part of this blog post which has some basic good words in it. More like a preventive features on how not to bribe. Back in Nepal, there is a lot of bribing day-in-and-out. I am not proud of it, but I have on occasions bribed few “T”s to get my things done. Bribing can however be thwarted by few right measures. Following three rules are taken from the internet, and I think they are wonderful. [1]

  1. Know the laws. The more information you have the better position you are in to resist the fear that can lead to a bribe.
  2. Never give a bribe to someone just to gain a free or exclusive benefit. You end up contributing to the ruin of that which you came to see in the first place.
  3. Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation to begin with.

Going Back – ..my corruption hypothesis..

I wrote something about corruption back in January 2013. Here is the link to the article. This article is the follow up for it. Once again, the formula is

corruption = greed + opportunity

so how do we (not) improve?

simple, switch the type of bribery from “post” to “pre” and you get a larger scale bribery. Its not there in Nepal, not yet.

Read More

  1. My Own Article – my corruption hypothesis – from Nepal [blog post]
  2. When to Bribe? How to Bribe? Do you bribe? [Todd’s Wandering] [blog post]
  3. Bribery [Wikipedia] [web link]
  4. Study Finds 40% of South Asians Have Paid a Bribe in the Past Year [report]