How do you say bribe?

Global Integrity

All I wanted was some simple answers.  

I was not asking for a scoop, or sensitive information. All I needed was some insights in the use of pipelines for a project – Thus I asked a pipeline analyst at a global company.

“Well, I can give you some answers if you give me something for refreshments,” the voice at the other end of the line said, with a matter-of-factly tone to his voice.

Confused silence on my end ensued, as I was trying to come to terms with his request. “Something to buy candy,” then he said, in a reassuring tone, making an effort for me to understand. “US$100.”

His change of terms, from soda pop to candy, make me wonder about the double standard of bribery. It goes beyond charging somebody for a simple favor, it entails finding up the right euphemism to cover up your behavior.

Everybody seems to have one:  “The bite” in Mexico, “coima” in Argentina, “chai” in East Africa, “shmiergeld” in Germany. Nobody seems to want to call it by its name – A bribe.

What euphemism is used in your country for bribery? What could be an approximate translation to English? Share with us on our comment section below or in our Facebook page.

— Julio C. Urdaneta

Global Integrity
Global Integrity

3 comments on “How do you say bribe?

  • In developed countries, there’s a much more ‘sophisticated’ process of ‘bribery turned upside-down’. Corporations have figured out how take bribery to the next level, and get governments to bribe them! Also, known as grants, or corporate welfare.

    And at an even higher level of sophistication, if corporations lobby for regulation that allow uninhibited expansion, they have the top executive siphon of as much cash as they possibly can for themselves, then if they’re big enough, the government has “no choice” but to bail them out.

    Amazingly, there’s an even higher level, which no one really understands and audit trails are undefined – a scam called PACs and super PACs. Truly a feat of human ingenuity.

  • Narayan Manandhar says:

    Bribery need not be articulated, a couple of years back, I read in The Economist that mere rubbing of thumb with the index finger is enough to pass the message and this sing language is almost universal. Is not this amazing, how about trying this sign language in your country to confirm what being reported in The Economist?


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