Back handers still the issue

Alan Heath
07-06-2002, 00:00

Articles concerning corruption which have been published in this newspaper have provoked a great deal of controversy. Readers have said that perhaps we should not continually harping on about the subject and the ineffectiveness of politicians and state if only for the good of the country.

Of course not everyone is sitting on their behind whilst bank handers control the economy. The government has stated that it wants to do something about the problem but opinion polls suggest the opposite. As many as 57percent of those questioned in a recent Pentor poll think that nothing is getting better and as many as 21 percent think that the situation is getting worse.

In the opinion of Jacek Wojciechowicz of the Warsaw office of the World Bank for the past five years many Polish and foreign organisations have been attempting to keep the matter at the top of the public agenda and today the level of corruption, although high, is not as bad as it was.

At the same time the political approach has also changed. Only six or seven years ago most parties would ignore accusations of corruption made against its members. Now most react differently. They realise that accusations of corruption could have a very negative effect on polling day.

Another positive point is that there is now a law governing the funding of political parties and whereas it is far from ideal it is a step in the right direction. The World Bank is now working on its next magnum opus. It has already published three reports — Corruption in Poland (1999), Anticorruption in Transition (2000) and Informal Payments in the Polish Health Service (2001).

© ℗
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Podpis: Alan Heath

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