Corruption can affect people in all walks of life, as we have noted in this column before. Specifically, government corruption is particularly pernicious.
Ronald K. Noble, founder of RKN Global, has battled against corruption throughout his long career in national and international law enforcement. He has seen that when corruption occurs in government, it is especially damaging. This, for two reasons: Government officials are supposed to serve the interests of the public, and have breached that trust; furthermore, because of the size of government and its involvement in so many projects, the size of corrupt deals in government is so great.
The recent announcement of the arrest of Sergio Cabral, the former governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro (in which the famed city of Rio de Janeiro is located), earlier this week, draws renewed attention to government corruption. Cabral, who was governor of Rio de Janeiro from 2007 to 2014, stands accused of orchestrating a bribery system in exchange for contracts for major construction projects. His crime ring allegedly took about $64 million in bribes in connection with projects that included the renovation, in advance of the 2014 World Cup, of Maracana Stadium.
Cabral allegedly took bribes equal to 5 percent of the cost of each project, plus additional money for his associates.
The criminal investigation in which Cabral’s schemes were uncovered, nicknamed “Car Wash”, began as a more limited investigation into corruption at a state-controlled oil company, but quickly expanded, implicating significant political figures.
RKN Global’s founder, Ronald K. Noble, points out that a culture of corruption makes further corruption even more likely.
This may be part of the dynamic in Brazil, where the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was thrown out of office for corruption charges earlier this year, and where the day before Cabral’s arrest, a different former governor of Rio de Janeiro, Anthony Garotinho, was taken into custody on voter fraud charges.
The effects of the corruption in government is evident in the judge’s order for Cabral’s arrest, which noted the “notorious situation of the ruinous public finances of the government of Rio de Janeiro.”
Rio de Janeiro, then, is the most recent example of the prevalence of and harm caused by corruption in government. The people of Rio de Janeiro and of Brazil deserve transparency and honesty in both justice and in government.