A dummy’s guide to corruption

Published: January 24, 2012
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It’s the people’s tax money and you are the peoples' servant. You deserve to have a grand lifestyle to be able to serve them.

Corruption is shameful. But when no one is looking it may become tempting. For those who land a government job in our beloved country with large funds at their disposal. Here is some advice on how to sell your soul:

  1. Kill your conscience: Corruption is not for the weak-hearted. You have to believe that it is not a sin but your right to survive in this competitive world. You need to keep telling yourself that if you make enough money, you will do some charity work for your fellow countrymen.
  2. Educate yourself: Don’t make the fatal mistake of choosing your designation and learning about the perks later. There is a huge difference between the Ministry of Education (near zero) and the Ministry of Petroleum (black gold) and only prior information will help you make a more informed decision.
  3. Choose wisely: Once you are done with your research, you will realise that a grade 18 officer in the Interior Ministry has more benefits than a grade 22 officer in the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis. Surprisingly, a director or commissioner’s position in the Foreign Affairs Ministry is definitely more valuable than the Minister of State in Religious Affairs. It’s better to collect hard cash, foreign trips and tender assigning authority over a government paid security squad, housing and utility bills.
  4. Act rapidly: You haven’t worked a day in your life, fine! But this is different. Don’t sit idle for even a day when you have landed the dream job. Stop acting like a camel. Behave like a frog! Democracy hardly survives in our country, so quickly apply for renovation funds for both your government office and personal residence. If you’re a minister, don’t forget the bullet-proof four-wheeler. Make a wish list and claim all of it on government money. It’s the peoples’ tax money and you are the people’s servant. You deserve to have a grand lifestyle to be able to serve them.
  5. Make friends and share: Your immediate boss, his boss, the contractor, the vendor, the supplier – everyone is a friend. They are your lifelines in the most competitive life-changing game show. The circle goes like this:  you choose contractor-friend’s unmerited tender over many other eligible ones and get it approved by your boss who’s also a friend. Both you and your boss get all-paid 5-star holiday packages to Europe along with your families. Everyone is happy. Your kids love you, your wife is proud of you. It doesn’t matter if the newly built road by your contractor-friend is in shambles after only six months of being built. This is Pakistan. We get acidic rains.
  6. Trade: Trade everything from small pieces of information to large chunks of scrap material, dysfunctional air conditioners, broken furniture, etc. In one line, no file moves ahead of your desk unless it has a thick, sealed envelope that reeks of fresh currency. You could see your cut on almost anything, unless you have cataract.
  7. Invest smartly: Don’t keep all your earnings in one area. Distribute them. Property, bank accounts, jewelry, automobiles, shareholding – pick them all. Send your son(s) abroad to study and pay the total fee altogether. Marrying off your daughter(s) when you are in power means better proposals for them and even better gifts. Put your assets in your family members’ names. It helps declaring the least assets in your name in the next elections while your wife, (a housewife) owns a car showroom, a 16 storey office building in central Lahore and has a one-third stake in an airline. Don’t forget to invest in property and business abroad for bad times.
  8. Stash cash away: There may come a time when everyone will become your enemy and you’ll lose all your assets in the country. Two institutions starting with the letter ‘N’ (sounds like cab) and ‘S’ (behaves like Santa Claus) may confiscate them. For such times, you will need money to run the kitchen. So stash away some good amount to a foreign bank, preferably Swiss. They prove to be the toughest for local authorities to gain access, unless they write a letter, which they don’t.
  9. Learn to swear: It’s a mean world out there where TV anchors invite you to their talk shows and demand the truth while showing documentary evidence. Any such appearance may turn ugly when you’d be asked upright live on national television if you have indulged in corruption. For such a crisis situation, learn to swear on the grave of your dead leader, on your faith, and the life of the anchorperson that you are as clean as a newborn.
  10. Be brave and brace yourself: Corruption is not for cowards. You simply cannot hide evidence that clearly speaks of your deeds which may land you in prison when the government changes. So from time to time, whenever you get to meet officials from the interior ministry and prison, treat them with utmost respect and shower them with gifts and meals. It will pay off when you are jailed.

Arif Ahmed

Arif Ahmed

A corporate communications professional and co-founder of a Karachi based NGO.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.