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Corruption is a moral category that signifies putrefaction and rot. Commentators use the term to describe aspects of modern life that they find repugnant. Absolute power will corrupt absolutely. As the saying goes, those actors with excessive power will tend to abuse it. Prominent economics scholars state that the term “money politics” is best suited to explain the multi faceted nature and aspects of corruption because it is less normative than “corruption” and also because it highlights the specificity of public-private interaction. The politics of money is highly pervasive particularly in countries blessed with abundant natural resources. Despite sitting on billions of dollars of mineral wealth, such countries are exposed to persistent poverty while their leaders, and the companies that cut deals with them, make out like bandits. The politics of money (corruption) which is the abuse of public office for private gain is rampant in many of the poorest countries of the world and in Central and Eastern Europe. Greed and arrogance by dictators and their cronies has been a curse on too many countries trapped in poverty. Though not rich in natural resources, Kenya has one of the most expensive national parliaments in Africa which consumes more than 10 percent of the country’s GDP. Members of the Kenyan parliament are the highest paid parliamentarians even at the global level. As if this is not enough, the parliament this week shamelessly announced a very lofty additional allowance for its members, which are equivalent to 60 years per capita income of an ordinary Kenyan, while unprecedentedly increasing the tax rate on the public. Two months ago, the government of the newly born, oil rich South Sudan caught the whole world by surprise when they broke the “world record” of government corruption by embezzling 4 billion dollars within eleven months of their newfound statehood. In Nigeria, embezzlement of money amounting to less than one hundred million dollars has long lost its importance as being news worthy or even to be considered as mid-level corruption. Similarly, government embezzlement of tens of millions of dollars is widely considered as minor corruption in Angola, one of the largest oil producing African countries. In Equatorial Guinea, it is an uphill task to distinguish between what belongs to the nation and what belongs to the family of the “President-for life” Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The citizens sarcastically, but seriously, lamenting that it is the President and his extended family that are producing and exporting oil not Equatorial Guinea. As the above cases of South Sudan, Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea clearly signifies, some of the worst nightmares are in countries rife with massive poverty, despite being endowed with enormous reserves of oil, gas and vital metals. The villains are the leaders of these countries, but major Western governments shoulder a portion of the blame. As many such legal battles proved it, they have turned a blind eye to the corruption and the international laundering of stolen cash and they have made it very difficult for stolen assets to be repatriated. The West’s willingness to be, in effect, co-conspirators in the corruption is due to Western dependence on vital natural resource imports. It is seen as a question of security. For decades, Western governments, operating hand-in-glove with major oil, gas and mining companies, forged deep ties with the governments of resource-rich nations, from Libya to Nigeria and from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. The companies secured exploration and then production rights in these countries in return for royalty payments to their leaders. They did not ask what the host governments did with the massive revenues that they obtained. If the leaders of these countries wanted to deposit the funds in their own personal bank accounts, or those of their families, in London or Zurich, they encountered no objections from the British or Swiss governments, or the bankers who took the deposits. Different UN documents, time and again revealed that, more than five million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years as warlords and public officials have illicitly claimed control of vast quantities of minerals. Constant civil wars and horrendous human rights abuses have run alongside the production and sale of minerals by various warlords to foreign companies. The cash simply vanishes. The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo live in absolutely appalling conditions. . It is with intense frustration that anti-corruption activists watch the dealings between major global oil companies and a host of African countries that have vast oil reserves. Given their oil resources, the living standards of the people of these countries should be high. Instead, living standards there are among the very lowest in the world. The royalties that ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and other giant firms pay to the host governments in order to have the right to extract oil should be going into new schools and hospitals and public infrastructure. However, they are not. Oil royalties are among the world’s single largest source of corrupt spoils for a relatively small number of governments in countries where general living conditions are appalling. Exposure of these royalties is now, after many years of campaigning by civil society, likely to become a reality. It is not a secret that successive French governments have, for years, maintained close and largely suspect relationships with former oil-rich West African colonies. The French authorities, as long as they receive steady oil supplies, have shown scant interest in the destitution of the peoples of their former colonies. However, they allow the leaders of these countries deposit vast sums into their personal bank accounts in France with impunity. As a result, one of the world’s richest men is Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979. The Obiangs own real estate in Beverly Hills, California, paid for in part through phony shell corporations with names like Unlimited Horizon and Beautiful Vision, and in Cannes, in the south of France. The President’s flamboyant play boy son gave one million dollars to the National Football Team players for each game they won at the African Nation’s Cup football tournament held in Gabon. The Obiang and family assets have been investigated by a U.S. congressional committee and are under investigation by a French judge. President Obiang undoubtedly feels confident that he is not only secure but also he can continue to pocket his nation’s formidable oil revenues because France needs his oil. The same holds true for the Bongo family in nearby Gabon. Former French presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac paid tribute to one of Africa’s most corrupt ruling families when they attended the funeral, in June 2009, of Omar Bongo, who had been Gabon’s president for 42 years and who was succeeded by his son, Ali-Ben Bongo. The late President Omar Bongo was the one among a long list of leaders and high level government officials who has a string of luxurious properties worth multi million dollars in the affluent suburbs of Paris. U.S. and British oil companies including Shell, which is a joint UK-Dutch company, have been the prime sources of enormous royalty payments to the governments of Nigeria and Indonesia, whose respective former leaders, Sani Abacha and Suharto, are among the past giants of grand corruption. The late Nigerian dictator General Abacha mercilessly looted more than 4 billion dollars from the nation’s coffers during his four years and eight months tenure as president of Nigeria. Then, there is zero transparency related to the oil deals done, for example, with Chinese companies by President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is under an arrest warrant for perpetrating genocide in Darfur. Frank Vogl, in his latest book entitled “Waging War on Corruption” (2012), argued that insisting on greater transparency for the deals between governments and companies will help return the wealth of resource-rich countries to the people who live there. At this particular point, one crucial question to ask is the following; what makes the issue of the “politics of money” in natural resources far more complicated from a global security perspective? The next article will explore the possible answers. N.B:- After the completion of this article, the Kenyan President has apparently rejected the additional allowance to the Kenyan parliamentarians.