Countries disburse billions to help the most vulnerable and those hit hardest by the pandemic. Corruption drains public resources and undermines governments’ ability to serve public interests and provide socio-economic support for citizens and businesses in distress.
Embezzlement, bribes and price gouging in several essential sectors, but most prominently in the health sector, are only a few examples of corruption in the current pandemic.
Many countries adopt a “pay now, check later” approach in providing support grants to businesses impacted by COVID-19. This, however, can lead to the abuse of emergency business grants by established companies that are not legally entitled to them; the creation of fake companies to take advantage of the current situation; or organized criminal groups impersonating companies in need.
To RECOVER with INTEGRITY support must reach those most in need. Responses must be anchored in law and be implemented by strong public institutions, with the involvement and under the oversight of members of parliament, anti-corruption bodies, civil society and the private sector.
With lives and livelihoods on the line, transparency and accountability in response and recovery strategies are vital. Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust.