Institutionalizing corruption..

..doesn’t make it right, even if it makes it legal.

This Local news website reports on MPs selling their “rights” to duty free cars- for amounts ranging from JD 5o,000 to JD 70,000 -through another MP who owns a dealer in the duty free zone of Zarqa.One can’t know for sure if this is true because everything in Jordan is surrounded by mystery. This same approach was taken with army officers and retirees who sold their duty free car “rights” for amounts ranging from JD 10,000 and JD 20,000. The difference in the selling price between the MPs and the army officers is due to the “strings” attached to their “rights” with respect to the car specifications, and to be specific it is mailny about the size of the motor. You see, in jordan, size matters.

This previous example is just one of the examples of institutionalizing and legalizing corruption and favoritism- and a smart way to do so. The government didn’t pay anything-in the sense of giving them the money directly, they just moved the money from one hand to another; the buyer is paying the MP or the army officer instead of paying the government. This lost revenue can’t go in the books because it didn’t exist before. You see, they-the government- created a small black market where such transactions can take place.

Now the questions are: Is this constitutional? And even if it is constitutional, isn’t this just plain wrong? Isn’t this a form of bribery? Are the MPs better human beings than us?

One can understand their stand, the MPs that is.You see, they see others that shall remain nameless enjoying the high life no questions asked. Even asking those others the questions is deemed a crime and a threat to national security. For those others there is no accountability whatsoever, no transparency, nothing! What we know is that they need a lot of money to live the life they are living, but we don’t know how they get the money to maintain this quality of life.

And there is one rule that shall never be forgotten: Power without checks is the sure way to corruption. So, Where, is, the, leadership, by, example? And where are the checks on those with power?

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