1. 0 Introduction



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Student no. 20131846 Date: 29.05.2015

1.0 Introduction

Corruption is not a new phenomenon in the world, but it has existed for centuries. Corruption has its roots in every walks of life and on every level in society. Many countries have fought their way out of a corrupted lifestyle, this is typical in the Western world but corruption is still a huge problem for many countries, especially in the Third and developing World. Corruption is a major issue, and it affects societies and economies on a global scale. Corruption can cover a wide range of areas of abuse, such as bribery, extortion and fraud (Rohwer; 2009), but mostly it is defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” (DFID; 2013). Every country is fighting different levels and degrees of corruption, and in most cases, it is high-level authorities who are the most corrupted people, which is also why corruption is typically called a ‘white-collar’ crime (UN’s Convention against Corruption). Corruption creates diffusion and chaos in political systems, and it puts democracy and its leaders at risk of destroying national development. This is especially an important point when it comes to the developing world, since corruption is more extensive and has a greater impact on the countries in this part of the world. Corruption is widespread and most commonly found in African and Asian countries, due to lack of proper development and leadership. The political and legal systems do not work properly which create a halt in the countries’ development, prosperity, and future and not least in the trust from the people.

However, as mentioned, many countries want to, and are trying to break out of the vicious circle that corruption creates, this includes Nepal as well which is the country this paper will focus on. Nepal has experienced corruption for centuries, due to their long history of dynasties and corrupt rulers. Nepal has a long history of autocratic ruling and a suppressed population. It has affected all levels of the society. The reasons for corruption vary, and this paper will examine the reasons behind Nepal’s high level of corruption. Nepal is one of the more corrupted countries in the world and as said above, this paper will look at the reasons behind the corruption and it will also try to answer what changes need to take place in order to create a better society for Nepal.
In the beginning of the 21st century, Nepal lived through some troubled times, especially politically, and the troubles were enforced especially after the murder of the royal family in 2001. The situation became even worse when the new king abolished the parliament, and re-instated himself as head of the government. However, after a protest from the Maoist party, the king was forced to re-instate the House of Representatives, which eventually completely abolished the monarchy in 2008 (Gayley: 2001). These incidents exacerbated the tense political situation even more. Corruption has since then increased poverty and distrust towards the government has grown throughout the nation. High-level authorities have chosen to ignore the issue, and the population and the country as a whole are the ones suffering. For many ordinary people, but not least for high-level authorities corruption have become a way of life and a way to survive and rise to a higher status. Since the government has not shown keen interest in changing this way of life, Nepal will fall even further behind, which will lead to less international support, and more importantly that the poorest areas in the country never will recover from poverty and hunger.
According to numbers from Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014, Nepal is ranking 126 out of 175 countries, which means that corruption in Nepal has increased compared to the numbers from 2013, where it ranked 116. Nepal scores 29 out of 100, where zero is highly corrupted and 100 is very clean (CPI) compared to 31 out of 100 in 2013 (CPI). This is not the progress Nepal could have hoped for and anticorruption organizations have been fighting for.

There are international and national organizations that are fighting corruption, but since corruption is increasing, it could indicate that governance and rule of law in Nepal are not working properly or are simply lacking.


Therefore, this paper’s research question will be as follows,
Why is Nepal suffering from such a high level of corruption?
In help to answer this question and to get a thorough examination of the problems, I will add and examine two sub-questions:
- What is the public opinion about the corrupt system?
- Can we speak of good or bad governance in Nepal?

The paper is structured by introducing and explaining methodology, which includes explanations of choice of topic and country, choice of theory and empirical material. Then the theoretical framework, where the chosen theory will be explained. Afterwards, an analysis and discussion will follow and lastly a conclusion to gather the findings.


2.0 Methodology

This section will contain explanations for choice of topic and country, choice of theory, the empirical material, choice of analytical strategy and critical reflection on the methodological choices.



The paper strives to examine the high level of corruption in Nepal and some of the main reasons behind it. Nepal has been suffering from corruption for a long time and research shows that it is not improving, but worsening (CPI; 2014). This problem affects the entire nation, and stops any development the country so strongly needs such as better infrastructure and the eradication of hunger and poverty. The United Nations former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once stated, “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” (Annan, the UN; 1998). Good Governance has entered into the global stage and this will provide poorly governed countries the opportunity to change and improve. The public opinion will come into consideration with statements from ordinary Nepali people from street interviews, and statements and answers from a questionnaire taken by high-educated people, and I expect them to have a more thorough knowledge of the Nepali society. Education is important, and especially in Nepal, because it helps understanding how the society operates, and not least how the political system works. These statements are that of ordinary people who are non-educated I am expecting them to have less knowledge of how the society operates. References to some of the major international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations will also be made.

The analysis will consist of several sections concerning the main areas where corruption takes place such as; the political and legal system, the educational system, and the media, the public opinion, the international community, and the last section will be about transferability. There will then be a short summary to briefly sum up the main points. The discussion section will be a discussion of anticorruption efforts, the political system with focus on governance in Nepal, and improvements towards good governance. In the discussion section, I expect to find that bad governance rules in Nepal and that better governance can bring change to the Nepali society. That change should begin in the political system, but it will take time and a huge change in the political mind-set needs to take place. It will not be an easy task, but Good Governance could create prosperity. There will also follow a brief summary after the discussion to summarize the focal points. At last, a conclusion to gather all the findings and answer the main research question.


The paper will concentrate on corruption in Nepal. However, there will be more focus on the political arena, since it is here that corruption is most damaging, and most often, where corruption begins. The affects and impacts are significant and if changes should happen it should probably begin within the political system.




2.1 Choice of country and topic

The choice of country came out of a personal interest. I have been to Nepal several times as a tourist, as a volunteer and as an intern working in a local NGO that works with anticorruption. The country has an interesting history including a long history of corruption, especially in the political sphere, hence, the topic. The country and topic are both interesting to investigate further, especially after knowing how much corruption which exists in the country, and how much it delays future developments. The country is in great need of development as a third world country and a decrease in corruption can change many things for Nepal. Therefore, the topic for this paper is chosen in order to obtain a better understanding of the reasons behind Nepal’s corruption and lack of governance.



2.2 Choice of theory

The topic, Corruption, has determined the choice of theory. The theories of Governance and hereunder-Good Governance have a well-suited approach when it comes to corruption, because corruption and battling corruption are usually found under governance programs. The theory will be able to give an overview of the situation in Nepal and give the reader an idea how these two subjects of corruption and governance interconnect. Governance or the lack of governance is a huge issue, especially in the Third World where societies struggle and development is at a stall. In this paper, the theory of Governance and Good Governance will be able to shed light on the problematic issues in Nepal, and why corruption might be such a problem, and it will assist with answering the research questions.

The principal-agent model will be discussed briefly and will be used as a second theory. This model is an approach that suits topics like corruption, because we see an agent that hires or bribes a second party (principal) to execute a task. The agent is only considering his/hers own interests. It gives a good view on the relationship between the two parties, as well as how people will do almost anything to achieve a higher status and do anything to get some extra cash. As mentioned, this model will be used as a helping tool to Governance in the analysis, because it can give a good view of the situation and relationship between the people and the ruling elite. A relationship which Governance also looks at.

2.3 Choice of empirical material

Due to a previous stay in Nepal working with anticorruption, the paper will mainly consist of primary data, such as street interviews with ordinary people, questionnaires from well-educated people within the Nepali society. However, there will also be secondary data, from websites such as local Nepali homepages, research articles, books concerning Nepal, governance and the political system, and reports from Transparency International Nepal and Norwegian Norad. Statements from bigger international organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank (WB), since these are the two main international players trying to put corruption on the political agenda. There will also be statements from Transparency International (TI) and the sub-division working in Nepal, Transparency International Nepal (tinepal). This will give a broader view of the specific situation in Nepal, and give different perspectives of the situation.

The mix of primary and secondary data will be able to give a coherent picture of the issue this paper is focusing on. It is important to keep in mind that the secondary data was not collected or interpreted for this specific paper, so it is imperative to stay as objective to this information as possible.

This empirical material will help understanding the situation, which Nepal finds itself in, and from this, the reader can create a wider knowledge on corruption and the hurdle Nepal is suffering from.


However, the access to information on corruption in the neighboring countries, India and China, is not difficult, but to find information about corruption in NEPAL is much tougher. Nevertheless, due to Nepal’s political history and the huge level of corruption, and not to forget their signature on the United Nations Convention against Corruption, information is available, but it requires a little more research. The research is typically concerned with the national level, and how politicians deceive the system. Due to my internship last year in Anticorruption Movement Nepal, I am in the possession of more primary material then I otherwise would have been.
I would have liked to be able to find more specific information on how the poor sector of the population suffers and what it does to their daily lives and how they might see a future for Nepal, but it has not been possible. Nepal is not an easy country to get information and documents out of, especially when it comes to corruption. No one wants to admit that they are corrupt and lack of transparency makes it very difficult. Rules are not being respected, and you practically have to become corrupt to be able to get your hands on this information.

2.4 Choice of analytical strategy

Since corruption consists of such a wide spectrum, I have decided to divide the analysis into several sections, so it is easier to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the issue Nepal. It will also be easier to expand on the different aspects of the situation and get a more thorough examination of each section. This will be done in accordance with the chosen theory, which will be described below.



2.5 Critical reflection on the methodological choices

I am aware of some critical reflections in the choice of methodology. I do use some already existing empirical material, which could cause bias, which is important to keep in mind. However, most of the material is created for the exact purpose of this paper. Nevertheless, it is essential to remain critical and interpret the material as objectively as possible to avoid too much bias. It is important to be critical of all the sources and be aware that their views might be coloured, because of their opinion about the government, and the entire system.

As mentioned earlier, I use street interviews from ordinary people. I will only use three interviews, since they were all more or less similar in their stories. The questions focused on the political system and their opinions on the entire system. The interviewed focused more on their own personal lives and their survival in a corrupt society, than on the political system. This was not an easy task to perform, because people in Nepal are reluctant to reveal their own part in corruption. Therefore, it was not easy for them to open up to me. I had to gain their trust and show my identification card, so they could see that I was working for an anticorruption organization and not for the government or the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. Knowing that it was hard for them, made me act cautiously and with respect and humbleness, I did not push them, and I was happy with whatever they could tell me. Since I do not speak Nepali or Hindi I had a translator with me, the public relation associate in the organization, and I explained to them who he was and why he was there. I was forced to explain a little about governance and that the politicians were corrupt and about Nepal’s lack of development, before I could ask them my questions. I found these interviewees on the street, randomly, two of them were walking together, they apparently came from the same area, and they worked in the same places. I asked them where they would be most comfortable talking to me, whether it be in a café, at my office or somewhere more public. They usually said in public, in one of the big squares around town. I told them that it was for work and that I would include it in my final report for school, and they showed great appreciation for this. The interviewees were ordinary men working to provide for their families.

It paints a picture of their opinion about their government, and what they have to go through on a daily basis, which is a picture I find interesting and want to include in this paper. The interviews were conducted in order to achieve a better understanding of the opinions about the Nepali government. I did these interviews in person in Nepal. However, from my previous stay, I made friends and I asked them if they could help me with a questionnaire. I wanted to circulate it to well-educated people in Nepal to hear what they had to say about it all, because I already had three less educated men’s opinion. So, I sent the same questions, but when I received the answers, they showed another picture, or gave a broader perspective of the situation in Nepal. They were more elaborate and put forward valid points on corruption, which I did not find surprising. They are well educated and most of them are doctors or within the medical world. These are some of the best-educated people in Nepal, and have a better knowledge about the society than others have. Furthermore, during their education they work in urban and rural areas, so they meet all kinds of people, and this gives them a better knowledge of the society in general.


I will use both of these types of interviews to point out the opinion from people from different walks of life, and also to discuss the corruption in Nepal, and how it affects not only the people, but also the country. One could argue that the sources are not representative, but limited to only two groups of the Nepali society: the ordinary uneducated people and the well-educated elite – all chosen randomly – and this may not give an entirely true and accurate picture of the public opinion, but this is the only material I could get my hands on.


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