The military-corruption complex
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Corruption is deeply embedded in the architecture of defence transactions and anything short of a complete transformation of structures, systems and processes will not make any difference. There is no deal in which middlemen do not play a role and hefty commissions are not paid. Investigators needlessly focus on why a particular vendor was chosen or on procedural infirmities in the hope of catching the wrongdoer. Corrupt deals will always be procedure-perfect: ironically, if there are procedural flaws it is likely to be a rare, clean transaction. The focus should shift to looking at the money trails, who paid whom and when, the specific role of big-time deal-fixers and their political connections. Yet, in all the major investigations so far, the role of these brokers has never been properly investigated.
This is why the focus on nailing the corrupt ends up paralysing the honest and ensures that the corrupt find more ingenious ways of making money. Only systemic reform can change things. Naturally, that has few takers. Who would like to shut off such an important source of revenue?
The writer is a former secretary to the government and handled army procurement in the 1990s
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