Transparency 2: Marcus Tullius Cicero
As Thucydides did (460-396 BC), Marcus Tulius Cicero (106-43 BC) also left classical texts related to the lack of transparency in Public Administration.
“In Verrem” (70 BC) he highlighted the corruption of Cayo Verres, who was the Sicily’s proprietor, and defined the term concussion such as using a public office for personal enrichment.
In “Pro Fonteio” (69 BC) and “Pro Rabirio Postumo”(54 BC), he criticized the prevarication of Marcus Fonteius and embezzlement of public funds by Cayo Rabirio Postumo.
Cicero defined 2100 years ago, three concepts which are currently being used very often: embezzlement, prevarication and concussion.
This last concept, concussion, is included in the general term “corruption” but it has important nuances as using a public office for personal enrichment.
This crime is so serious that some actual legislation about anticorruption dedicates specific articles about concussion as we repeat in the following paragraphs:
“Art. 218. Commits the crime of concussion the public servant who requires, by himself or through somebody else, money, securities, services or any other thing which cannot be required or exceeds the amount authorised by law, through a tax, contribution, surcharge, revenue, interest, salary or remuneration.
Whoever commits the crime of concussion will be penalized, depending on the demanded value:
1. – If the demanded value does not exceed the equivalent of 500 times the minimum daily salary in force or it cannot be valued in the Federal District at the time of the crime, the following sanctions will be imposed:
A) Imprisonment from 3 months to 2 years.
B) A fine from thirty to three hundred times the minimum daily salary in force in the Federal District at the time of the offense.
C) Dismissal and disqualification from 3 months to 2 years to perform any other public role.
2. – If the demanded value exceeds the equivalent of 500 times the minimum daily salary in force in the federal district at the time of the crime, the following sanctions will be imposed:
A) Imprisonment from 2 to 12 years.
B) A fine from three hundred to five hundred times the minimum daily salary in force in the Federal District at the time of the offense.
C) Dismissal and disqualification from 2 to 12 years to perform any other public role”.
As Thucydides and Cicero knew, the regulation of the state, necessary in many aspects, permits to enrich some public servants and politicians by using their public roles.
We must think about if the excessive state intervention, in some sectors, is an acceptable need or a pursued purpose by organized groups of people in order to use this regulation to enrich themselves as being difficult to accomplish with the regulation conditions, which have been promoted by themselves. Furthermore they can take advantage of this situation to provide reports or services that allow them to enrich themselves.