Jordan’s fight against corruption

It seems efforts are underway to fight corruption in Jordan.

The Amman prosecutor general recently indicted 350 people on charges of corruption, a senior interior ministry official said on Monday. "Abuse of public and private posts has wrought havoc on our economy and development," said the official, preferring anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. "We need to send a message that Jordan is a safe country for foreign investors. We can only do that by cracking down on corruption."

The official went on to point out that, of the 350 indictments, at least 300 were handed out to members of the private sector. While he was unwilling to disclose the precise amounts of money involved in the cases, he conceded that some involved amounts in the millions of dollars. "Some cases involve hundreds or thousand of dollars, but others are in the tens of millions," he said. Source: [IRIN]

However, some remain skeptical.

"We have thousands of high-profile corruption cases, but they’re covered up by the government and influential personalities," said MP Abdul Rahim Malhas, who accused successive governments of "lacking serious motivation" for fighting corruption. "The past four governments used all kinds of rhetoric to announce their ‘wars on corruption’, but we later discovered that top officials from the same governments were themselves corrupt."

I guess one reason behind such cynicism is Jordan’s ranking in the official statistics:

In a 2005 report by corruption watchdog Transparency International, Jordan ranked 37th out of 145 countries in the world in terms of official corruption levels. The report ranked Jordan fourth in the Arab world, after Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

I think it’s best to take a "wait-and-see" attitude. Maybe Jordan’s shameful rating will improve after this new anti-corruption drive.

11 thoughts on “Jordan’s fight against corruption”

  1. Just heard on NPR news that Walmart / Target used merchandise coming from Jordan which uses slavery in their factories… Has anyone heard such news today ?

  2. You know that is so digusting that people are treated that way when they are going to a foreign country to work and provide for their families. Whats even more disgusting is the blame game. Everyone tries to blame the other. You mean to tell me WalMart and Target can’t do anything about it. Its simple they tell those factory owners if you don’t improve conditions we’ll look to other options.

    Unfortunatly, business programs at colleges and universities are not spending enough time on ethics courses and spending way too much time on numbers. Lets see how good that is.

    3ogla

  3. I don’t have much faith in the government to fight corruption. these indictments are most likely politically motivated and propably inflated. if you belive the official sources you will belive this.

    The ones caught are propably small time crooks or politiclaly weak. the sort of corruption that drains national resources is actually legal in Jordan. haven’t you met people with two or three government jobs and paychecks? I did. haven’t you met people working in the private sector while getting a pay check from XYZ ministry? I did. I am not talkng retired folks. how do you fight corruption when it’s sanctioned by the state? how do you end corruption when the very core of the political system is corrupt? I bet Jordan would have left Dubai and Malaysia in its wake if we had a decent government. but for Jordanians and Arabs this is a distant dream. enjoy the arab swamps.

  4. Do not raise your expectations Natasha corruption will never be fought in Jordan. On the contrary corrupt high rank officials always get promoted and rewarded. The indicments may happen against third class employees who might accept a bribe of 100 JDs but not the big fish who eat everything in this country.

  5. Hi Nat. a quick example of hopelessness in fighting corruption:
    There’s a house in Lubban (just outise Amman) where a few rogue members of the Fayez family/tribe sell guns and drugs. I heard the police sometimes park off the highway and catch poor Ammani hashish buyers on their way home, but never confront the dealers. We can all imagine why.

    I put all my money on this: government offiacils -all they way to the top- know where many illegal drug rings are operating but don’t put an end to it. If you know a loved-one who has been a vitim of drug abuse/addiction, you must stand up and tell this government to stop playing dumb and cut the dealers from the source. They helped catch Zarqawi, I think they know who’s smuggling and distributing illegal drugs.

  6. If only the problem was some hashish dealers we would be in a great situation. Unfortunatly corruption in Jordan is taking place in terms of millions of JD’s being wasted on redundant projects taking place to benefit some vested interests, or licences being arbitrarily granted for some projects not others (not based on efficiancy nor merit), even yesterday in the newspaper there was a mention about the jordan magnesia company case being sent to the prosecutor general (after what!?!).

    I wish I can believe that the ‘government’ is serious about fightin corruption, but from what we see going on around us then it is completely unlikely.

  7. very sad….
    but maybe we need to understand (not accept) corruption and black markets
    from an economic standpoint. There is one economic engine, and it is a global engine, so intricate and intertwine, we have yet to model it.
    It is driven by the worst of OUR human traits, it will Mame us if not kill us, if we cant figure it out What is the “tipping point” when people push back

    And corruption come in various shades of gray…
    Some we well know are even classified as legal by governments…yet to me morally putrid.

  8. tedezzz, don’t be so dramatic. Most blakcmarkets exist because of a supply-demand inequilibrium created by ‘institutions’ intervening with a free market economoy.

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