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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The World's All-Time Most Corrupt Leaders



Imelda in Newsweek's Most Greedy List
Head of Government: Joseph Estrada
Country/Term of Office:
President of Philippines, 1998-2001
Allegedly Embezzled:
$78 million to $80 million
GDP Per Capita:
$912
Source:
Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2004
No doubt you’ve probably heard about Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda (and all her shoes that, if sold, could take good care of the fine people of their country), but that particular breed of corruption wasn’t the only kind to taint the Philippines.
Joseph Estrada came to power twelve years after Marcos’s left. Nepotism, favoritism, stock price manipulation and shady business dealings done to protect his cronies – Estrada was a master at these things and more.
One of the more despicable things the Estrada family did was when First Lady Loi Ejercito registered her private charity, Partnership for the Poor, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Normally, the organization gave roughly P65 million to beneficiaries like orphanages, shelters, hospitals and the like.
A few months after forming, the charity was ‘awarded’ P100 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. We don’t know if that’s even a real institution but it certainly sounds rotten. If all that P100 mil was going to feed the Oliver Twists of the Philippines that would be fine, but where did that check end up? The private residence of the first family, of course. From Business Pundit
Head of Government: Ferdinand Marcos
Country/Term of Office: President of Philippines, 1972-86
Allegedly Embezzled: $5 billion to $10 billion
GDP Per Capita: $912
Source: Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2004
Ferdinand Marcos : "He might have started as a hero but ended up as a crook.” 
Singapore's Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
Most people love getting freebies. In the case of this list, you get two corrupt Filipino dictators for the price of one. Arguably, Marcos was worse than the fellow who came later, Joseph Estrada, for a couple of reasons. He had his own cult of personality, and he used it to strong-arm the country into doing whatever he wanted.
As ruler of the Philippines for 14 years, he went with a patronage style of running the show. His cronies came on board, he awarded them big bonuses and posts of authority, which would, in time, further augment his family’s own wealth. He created monopolies in tobacco, banana, coconut, sugar and manufacturing industries, to which he tied the fellow Romauldez family.
Just how rich were the Marcoses? No one really knows how many billions of dollars that the First Family and their stooges raked in, but it certainly hangs in the billions. Swiss banks have turned in $85 million since Marcos stepped down in 1986, but more is still unaccounted for.
And who could forget Imelda Marcos? Wealth breeds extravagance, but she went over the top. She had white sand from an Australian beach flown in for a resort. She also bought various properties around Manhattan, though she ‘declined to buy the Empire State Building for $750 mil’ because it seemed “too ostentatious.”
When criticized for her manner of buying everything in sight, she claimed that she was a beacon of light to which the poor could aspire. As though the poor have as little integrity as she did, and would aspire to hedonism. From Business Pundit
World's Ten Most Corrupt Leaders1
"Their corruption has contributed to their countries' low economic status, placing them among the poorest on the planet"(Forbes magazine)


NamePositionFunds embezzled2
1. Mohamed SuhartoPresident of Indonesia (1967–1998)$15–35 billion
2. Ferdinand MarcosPresident of the Philippines (1972–1986)5–10 billion
3. Mobutu Sese SekoPresident of Zaire (1965–1997)5 billion
4. Sani AbachaPresident of Nigeria (1993–1998)2–5 billion
5. Slobodan MilosevicPresident of Serbia/Yugoslavia (1989–2000)1 billion
6. Jean-Claude DuvalierPresident of Haiti (1971–1986)300–800 million
7. Alberto FujimoriPresident of Peru (1990–2000)600 million
8. Pavlo LazarenkoPrime Minister of Ukraine (1996–1997)114–200 million
9. Arnoldo Alem├ínPresident of Nicaragua (1997–2002)100 million
10. Joseph EstradaPresident of the Philippines (1998–2001)78–80 million
1. Defined as former political leaders who have been accused of embezzling the most funds from their countries over the past two decades.
2. All sums are estimates of alleged embezzlement and appear in U.S. dollars.
Will we elect another TRAPO in 2016?