Legal bribery [Archives:2004/775/Opinion]

September 23 2004

By Adel Al-Khawlani
Yemen Times staff

Having been conferred a university certificate is one the requirements for getting a government job, having been urgently needed to fill a vacant position is another requirement, and having been highly-qualified and nominated is a third. However, the above-mentioned statements are not considered as the only conditions for getting a public-sector job, they are sub-conditions – all may be present but still you lack the main condition. “What is it?” I asked many applicants for vacancies in the Ministry of Education. “A sum of YR 100,000 to be paid to the Civil Service Office is the super-condition,” they answered and at the same time, everyone shows a willing readiness to mortgage anything he possesses, or do whatever he can, in order to get such a sum of money and pay. Up to this point, the applicant has met the main requirements making me pensive in thought as to whether this sum is approved by the Cabinet and that he perhaps he will be given a receipt or something else.
A few minutes later, it became clear to me that the amount of YR 100,000 will be openly paid as a bribery to officials at the Civil Service, otherwise, getting a job is impossible.
Bribery is the norm not only in Yemen, but it is practiced in most of the developing countries but what concerns us is the way of practicing it. Scandalous violations like this are not publicly practiced in other countries and there are penalties for both the briber and the bribed when discovered. But in the country of belief and wisdom, since it is practiced in public, and with a fixed sum of money, and no penalties are imposed, I am compelled to called it “Legal Bribery”.
Will the applicant who paid bribery be a loyal and hard-working recruit and will the officials to whim bribery is paid be convinced that he will be so?
It is too late for us to be shocked or to not fully understand the reasons for our backwardness.
It is a shame for us to claim reform without being reformed.