For a corrupt transaction to succeed, teamwork is required with different members of the team playing different roles. That is not a surprising thing. What is surprising is the composition of the team as I found out after listening to two stories.
One story involved a lady we shall call Elisa, a godly woman with a genuine desire to see a reduction of corruption in public offices. One morning while going about her work, Elisa got a call from the accountant in her department. This was the first time the man had ever spoken to her which was a great surprise if not shock to Elisa.
The trickThe accountant told Elisa that he had erroneously credited a certain amount of money onto her account and he needed her cooperation to retrieve the cash in order to put it back into the government coffers. The whole conversation was done in a low tone and after the call ended, Elisa found herself looking around to check if any of her colleagues had perhaps overheard what transpired between her and the accountant.
During the lunch break, Elisa found time to check her bank balance and what she saw almost made her faint. Nestling in her account was enough money to complete her dream house with some balance left over. The directions given by the account was for Elisa to return the money to him in cash and keep 20 per cent of the amount as bank charges.
The more she thought about the whole thing, the more Elisa got disturbed. In the evening, she looked up some of her most trusted friends and told them about the money and the instruction from the accountant.
One of the friends had experienced a similar thing and told Elisa that what the accountant was doing was a trick for stealing money using the bank accounts of unsuspecting staff. The cash would not be returned to the government coffers but eventually be pocketed by the accountant and his accomplices.
The second story involved a young graduate who was called to do a short-term assignment for a public corporation. The young man was excited by both the prospect of earning money and also getting work experience. After signing the contract, the supervisor called the young man for a closed door meeting.
In the meeting, the supervisor bluntly told him that the work report could only be accepted on the strength of his (the supervisor’s) signature and that he was the one who recommended everybody on the team. For his troubles, the supervisor told the young man that they would share the contract fee 50:50.
The graduate was a mixed bag of feelings after that meeting. On the one hand, it felt unfair for him to do all the work and then pass on 50 per cent of the money earned to his lazy supervisor.
On the other hand, he feared to confront the supervisor because it might close doors to future possibilities of employment.
When I heard the two stories, it made me realise that many honest people become parties to corruption by simply fearing to speak up. The corrupt thrive on this fear to speak and keep ensnaring more and more people into the vice.
Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee.
James Abola is a consultant and Team Leader for Akamai Global.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor