It is possible to decrease corruption


Author: Daniel de Resende Salgado *

Source: O Popular - GO, 17/08/2007

Corruption, undeniably, has always existed in our country. I remember a work developed by researcher Flávia Schilling. Willing to prepare a survey of the news on the fight against corruption in Brazil between the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, it reached, among others, the following expressions: nepotism, political enticement, deviations, fraud, employments, receiving bribes, overpricing of works, misuse of the fleet of official cars, political favors.

To put it mildly, he observed a picture of widespread corruption in a frame of dictatorship that had been implanted 16 years earlier, using the flag of anti-corruption. The 50s / 60s were not different. Jânio Quadros rose to power under the slogan of sweeping the bandalera. Already in the resumption of democracy, then candidate Fernando Collor was constantly talking about a moralizing crusade. The rest is history…

Worldwide, according to a World Bank estimate, corruption takes $ 1 trillion from the private sector. And in Brazil, in addition to negatively impacting GDP, corruption drives investors away, in addition to discrediting the government and institutions.

Therefore, corruption has always existed. And, I say more, it will always exist. Even in the Vatican there is news of corruption, recalls political scientist Benedito Tadeu César.

In spite of this, there are some prevention and repression mechanisms that, combined, can help in the fight against this cancer. For reflection, I mention the five pressing ones.

1- The elaboration of norms that allow the quick confrontation of corruption.

It is necessary to have a legal apparatus that provides the inspection bodies (Public Prosecutor's Office, Revenue, the Office of the Comptroller General, the Police, the Courts of Accounts, etc.) with quick means of joint and independent action in the pursuit of the parasites of public affairs and, mainly, of resources diverted by them. It is also necessary to fight for the maintenance of the rules that already allow some action by these bodies. Thus, it would be beneficial, for example, to change the legislation regarding the dogma of secrecy. This is often used to shield criminals, the corrupt and the assets they take away, and not to preserve the legitimate privacy of the good citizen. In addition, the creation of legal instruments that facilitate the rescue of diverted resources is essential to minimize the effects of corruption.

2- The removal of impunity-promoting devices.

In addition to the labyrinthine national judicial system and the privileged forum, I can mention, as a mechanism that fosters impunity, the ill-fated retroactive prescription. Such a legal institute, genuinely Brazilian, does not bring us pride. For him, the prescription takes a penalty that is applied in the future and projects it into the past. Thus, if a corrupt person, at the end of a process, is sentenced to two years, in a sentence ranging from two to twelve years, his punishment will be extinguished in four years, and not in sixteen, the term foreseen for the prescription by the penalty maximum (in the abstract). Therefore, if the investigation lasts more than four years or if the process extends for longer than that period, the penalty will not be applied. A perfect crime: investigated, proven and not punished. There is, since 2003, a bill that extinguishes such an institute, and that, however, is stopped in the Chamber of Deputies.

3- The perception that the corrupt is a national agent that guides itself according to an incentive system.

Immaturity is to think that corruption exists simply because the corrupt are evil. If there are more incentives to robbery than to probo behavior, the minimally amoral public agent will surely be corrupted. Therefore, the solution is to end the incentive to naughtiness, creating an unfavorable environment for crime. And, how to do that? Through investments in independent control systems and incentives for good servers. This added to the qualification and permanent screening of public agents, the quick punishment of bad employees, social cooperation and transparency. Thus, in addition to praising and qualifying good servants, the State needs to encourage the population, through, for example, advertising campaigns, to participate in facing the problem. In the same vein, the honest businessman needs to be encouraged to denounce the bad public agent, bribery schemes, etc. In short, Brazilians should be urged to exercise their citizenship.

4- The rescue of some ethical values ​​that, slowly and gradually, were lost.

In Santa Catarina, for example, a strong appeal against corruption is the campaign What do you have to do with corruption ?, led by the State Prosecutor's Office since 2004, in partnership with other agencies. One of its intentions is to expose, especially to children and adolescents, that everyday attitudes, such as breaking the line or cheating in the test, are acts of corruption. The question remains: how many today are aware of the danger of corruption for the rule of law?

5- The struggle for greater effectiveness of judicial processes and convictions in the criminal, civil and administrative fields.

The search for the re-legitimation of the law and the process needs to be resumed. In the specific case of the penal system, some disseminate the theory of its uselessness, preaching that it would be a mere instrument of oppression and private revenge. Mister is to put aside this anachronistic vision, as if we still supported an exception regime, where individual rights are systematically violated.

Today, on the contrary, the State needs to protect the citizen, victim of the atrocious daily violence (and it is not the citizen who needs to protect himself from the State). Therefore, the penal system must be reread by its enforcers as an instrument of social protection. No more inversion of values! The Judiciary needs, moving away from liberalism, to relearn to show appreciation for the freedom of honest society, of citizens who have become hostages to the social violence generated by corruption.

Finally, I remember that the President of the Republic, in one of his mambembes demonstrations, found that investigating corruption hurts. Compassion? It seems that only in favor of the dilapidators of public affairs. To society, a victim of corrupt practices, no expression of appreciation. I prefer the words of Saint Augustine: compassion is the most human of virtues, as long as it does not prejudice justice.

* Daniel de Resende Salgado is a public prosecutor, member of the Penitentiary Council and Criminal Coordinator of the Federal Public Ministry in Goiás