What is Corruption?
Corruption is the abuse of power for personal benefit. Corruption exists in different forms, such as bribery, influence trading, abuse of positions. Still, it can also hide behind favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism, conflicts of interest, or circling doors between the private and the public sector. Its effects are severe and widespread. Corruption is an enabler for crime and terrorism and constitutes a threat to security.
The economic growth is impeded by creating business uncertainty, slowing processes, and imposing additional costs. Corruption harms the EU by lowering investment levels, hampering the proper operation of the Internal Market, and reducing public finances even though the nature and scope of corruption differ from one EU State to another.
Corruption and its derivatives are a major cause of the multifaceted moral, social, political, and economic crisis that lead a country to impoverishment and the disintegration of the socio-economic fabric.
Corruption has become a threat to the functioning of our political system, to our social cohesion, and our national identity.
It is not easy to calculate the total economic costs of corruption. At the same time, corruption is estimated to cost the European Union economy over € 900 billion a year.
The fight against corruption is therefore helping to strengthen the European Union ‘s competitiveness in the global economy.
Transparency in the State, The Cypriot Government, has established a strong anti-corruption legal framework and is constantly working to improve and amend its laws, aligning them more closely with European anti-corruption conventions. The following are some of the initiatives taken by the Cypriot Government to combat corruption:
The Government amended the Penal Code in 2012 to bring it in line with the provisions of the European Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
Cyprus has a strong and independent judiciary capable of enforcing and protecting investors’ property and contractual rights. Several sources, such as the US State Department in 2013, affirmed that corruption is not the most important issue for investors in Cyprus.
Despite these efforts, the Government continues to face various challenges, revealing the extent of corruption at various levels of Government and in multiple sectors, such as:
- The Government does not have an anti-corruption strategy, or an independent authority solely empowered to fight and investigate corruption.
- There are no clear provisions in Cypriot law that provide for the protection of whistleblowers.
- Several sources characterise Cyprus as a haven for money laundering, which has contributed to the economic crisis that the country is experiencing today.
At Cyprus Integrity Forum, we believe that citizens would not remain indifferent to corruption if someone offered them a credible and straightforward mechanism to report it. The fight against corruption will be more effective if citizens are actively involved. Direct contact with our citizens offers us the opportunity to understand how corruption works in practice and to promote appropriate proposals. The authentic experiences of citizens prove how important the changes we promote are.
CIF has set up the Business Integrity Forum (BIF), aiming to bring under one roof those corporations that strive to operate in an ethical, transparent, and accountable manner and wish to become a role model for other business actors.
Research that has been carried out in collaboration with CIF’s partners in Cyprus and abroad is in the process of publication and will be added to our website very soon.