Corruption is the political, social, or economic phenomenon when someone, in a position of power, grants favours in order to receive favours in return or as a friendly turn.
A recurrent part of corruption is the conflict of interests. A situation in which somebody serves several interests which are conflicting. For example: a Minister (compare to Am. Secretary of State) who grants a government assignment to a business in which he or she has an interest. It may be that his or her spouse or friend is the owner and this person sees to it that part of the earned money goes back to the Minister.
Why is corruption so harmful?
Corruption is a symptom of bad governance or of a bad business mentality. It is at the expense of the poor or the honest people and is favourable for criminals. It damages one of the foundations of democracy and civil order, for everyone has equal rights. Corruption leads to privileges for those who pay (e.g. by his or her vote and/ or support) and denies them to those who do not pay.
Why is conflict of interests so harmful?
More often than not assignments/ favours are granted to ‘familiar’ or friendly businesses so that an open or fair tender is out of the question. Thus, other businesses miss out, the price appears to be higher while the quality does not get better. This is why projects become more expensive while the balance of marketing is disturbed. Moreover, this is a matter of self-enrichment of both the government official and the recipient and consequently a form of corruption.