CAIRO: There is a corruption-related case reported every two minutes in Egypt, and only 10 percent of those types of violations get caught, said Magdy El Galad, editor-in-chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm, at a seminar Tuesday titled Towards Enhancing Transparency in Local Markets at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.
The seminar aimed to analyze the causes of corruption in the Egyptian market in both the private and the public sector in order to decrease the level of corruption as a whole.
Salah Diab, chairman of Pico Company and owner of Al-Masry Al-Youm, said, There is a type of corruption that causes little damage in society, like paying LE 5 to an officer to avoid a ticket, and then there is the harmful corruption, the type that leads to lost opportunities.
Furthermore, people often do not differentiate between problems pertaining directly to corruption as opposed to other types of bureaucratic flaws.
The government s control over most of the private sector is one of the main reasons for corruption, in addition to the bureaucratic system and the complication of procedures related to investment, said El Galad.
There are three types of corruption, small scale corruption that is related to civilians and their lawful rights, administrative corruption that has to do with violating the law and large scale corruption, the most harmful type, that takes over the country and does not consider public interest, said Abd El Fatah Al Gibaly, head of the economic unit at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
The level of poverty in society leads to one type of corruption, said Al Gibaly. The people suffering most from corruption are the poor who work without registered licenses, who have to bribe local officials to continue functioning. This further encourages the extra-legality of their operations.
Corruption in the private sector is equally rampant in public sectors, said Diab, the harmful type of corruption rarely gets exposed, and it is the type that hinders development. On the other hand the inconsequential corruption gets caught by the system.
Diab added that the existence of democracy would prevent corruption, but that in Egypt citizens do not have the right to say that they want to change the person in charge because he is not acting in their interests.
Though the seminar did not offer practical solutions to put an end to corruption, it provided insight on its roots. Such knowledge is necessary for tackling the problem and not merely its symptoms.
Al Gibaly suggested that in order to decrease corruption, there should be clear civil laws, a precise legislative system, a more efficient administrative system, increased competition and proper execution of laws.