Countries get bankrupted by corrupt heads, not low-level officials: PM

Premier says low-level officials accepting bribes not the root cause of the problem

APP/News Desk June 06, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said countries went bankrupt and became indebted when their heads of state and ministers were corrupt, not because of their low-level officials accepting bribes.

“When low-level officials take bribes it creates problems for the citizens as speed money is like a tax on them but countries get bankrupted and indebted when the head of state/govt and his ministers are corrupt,” the premier wrote on his official Twitter handle.

He also shared an excerpt of a “Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core United States National Security Interest” recently issued by US President Joe Biden.

In the memorandum, the US president directed his senior officials to conduct an interagency review process and develop a presidential strategy to improve the ability of executive departments to promote good governance, combat all forms of illicit finance, hold accountable corrupt elements, and their facilitators and bolster the capacity of domestic and international institutions to prevent corruption.

The opening paragraph of the memorandum read: “Corruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable access to services; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism, and migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracies worldwide. When leaders steal from their nations’ citizens or oligarchs flout the rule of law, economic growth slows, inequality widens, and trust in government plummets.”

Last month, the premier had said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been working for the past 23 years but the country could not overcome corruption because no one could lay hands on the “big fish”.

PM Imran said that no country could progress without eradicating corruption, and emphasised that development was not possible unless everybody came under the rule of law.

“NAB has been working against corruption for 23 years but we can’t control corruption.”

He added that NAB failed in controlling corruption as it was unsuccessful in nabbing the big fish. “We only catch the little ones,” he said, adding that without bringing the powerful under the law, the country could not progress.
He referred to China’s successful drive against corruption. “China has severely punished many people for corruption,” he said. “Corruption in the country is reduced only when action is taken at the top, as seen in China.”
The prime minister said that China overcame other issues also, including reducing poverty in a very short period of time. “Getting people out of poverty is our government’s priority,” the prime minister said. “We can learn a lot from them [in this regard]."

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