Leadership: The Persistence Of Bad Behavior


August 19, 2014: Recently a video of senior Pakistani politician (Punjab province Law Minister Rana Mashhood) taking a bribe was shown on a Pakistani TV. This sort of bad behavior is no surprise to Pakistanis, but seeing it on TV is quite rare. The reason for that was soon evident as Law Minister Rana Mashhood took the TV station to court accusing them of producing a fabricated video. While the Pakistani courts are considered the least corrupt part of the government they are not free of corruption and corrupt officials taking their accusers to court often goes badly for the accuser.

Neighboring India is considered less corrupt, but the same pattern of revelations and suppression often occurs. For example, the culture of sloth and corruption in the Indian military procurement bureaucracy is epic and seemingly immune to reform. Thus, even when foreign suppliers wade through all the Indian red tape and make a deal, they then have to cope with demands for bribes to actually get the procurement contracts signed. This sort of thing is no secret in India and during 2013 some intrepid Internet based journalists actually recorded and put out on the Internet video of Indian procurement officials discussing their readiness to accept bribes.

The indignation (including threats to arrest the journalists) and public outrage that followed led to a policy of banning firms that were caught paying these bribes. That has developed into a major problem for India, since in the last two decades there has been a major consolidation of defense firms in the West. So that if you blacklist a few firms, which India has already done, you cut off access to a large number of items the Indian military wants. The solution is to ease up on the blacklist restrictions, but that has been difficult to get through the Indian parliament because of demands that there also be an easing of the punishments inflicted on Indian officials caught taking bribes.






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