GCR: Political Corruption

Cover of GCR: Political Corruption

The Global Corruption Report 2004 provides an overview of the state of corruption around the world. It covers national and international developments, institutional and legal change and activities within both the private sector and civil society for the period from July 2002 to June 2003. This year the Global Corruption Report focuses on political corruption. It presents 34 country reports and the latest research on corruption.

Political corruption is the abuse of entrusted power by political leaders for private gain. The scale of the problem can be vast. One of the world’s most corrupt leaders, Mohamed Suharto of Indonesia, allegedly embezzled up to US $35 billion in a country with a GDP of less than US $700 per capita.

Corruption in political finance takes many forms, ranging from vote buying and the use of illicit funds to the sale of appointments and the abuse of state resources. Not all are illegal. Legal donations to political parties often result in policy changes, for example. A 2003 World Economic Forum survey finds that in 89 per cent of the 102 countries surveyed the direct influence of legal political donations on specific policy outcomes is moderate or high.