Government officials are elected by the people of their country with the expectation that they will take care of them. In today’s world, many elected officials are diverting their focus towards matters that are beneficial to themselves, rather than on the welfare of their people. This may not be true about every one of them but, as the old adage goes, ‘a rotten apple destroys the whole barrel’. Due to one such apple, my family fell prey to a fraudulent land-deal.
In 2007 economy in India was booming and the land prices rising. As a result, our family business was also thriving. We were involved in the hotels and resorts industry and therefore wanted to buy a large plot of land at a popular tourist spot in Kerala, India. The land belonged to a minister who was running the state. The deal was mediated by one of his family members who was, at the time, employed by my family as an office manager.
As the minister was a highly respected individual, we did not feel the need to run detailed checks on the validity of the deal. However, it soon transpired that he had tricked us into buying land which didn’t belong to him. Furthermore, the land that he sold to us was only allowed to be used for plantation purposes and not for construction.
When challenged about the situation, he refused to admit his involvement. Seeking justice of by way of a trial was not something we could consider, due to the minister’s corrupt influence within the government. Therefore we were left no option but to involve the media and rally some attention. Six months after the bogus deal had taken place, my family went public.
The most powerful source of media attention came through the television news. Several channels ran their own investigations and came to conclusions that favored us. The news channels also has special interviews and phone sessions with different politicians and government officials that supported us.
Subsequently, the minister was forced to step down from his position within the government. This was a small victory, but the case to claim back the money we had stolen still continues.
This issue was a personal one in many ways. However, when an individual of the law is involved in a fraudulent activity such as this, it in fact affects the entire community. The people of the community had put their trust into this man, and he abused it. It is possible that other people had also been conned by him during his time as minister.
The incident has caused my family much inconvenience. A great deal of time and money has been spent on this problem. It also cost us our reputation in certain respects. We accused the minister of his guilt and he accused us of lying about such a deal having taken place. This gave the public an opportunity to doubt us and our integrity, until the truth was finally revealed.
We have still not received our money back from the minister, despite the fact that we won the case. He claims to not have any money to give back now. For my family, the fight continues.
Sadly, corruption is a problem that seems to be worsening, in many areas all over the world. For example, when questioned on the subject of charity, many people will claim that they no longer give to charitable organizations because they are worried the money will never reach the people who need it.
Corruption exists within individuals, such as the minister who conned my family, and in whole organizations and sometimes even whole governments.
When a community puts its trust into an individual or into a group of officials, it expects to get what it is paying for. However, more often, people are starting to accept the corruption that exists in the world and are feeling that there is nothing they can do about it.
I think that this is the most dangerous part; corruption is becoming so common that its almost accepted as part of life.