When corruption is uncovered in functional jurisdictions a long established and well tested series of events come into play. Police investigate and if sufficient evidence is collected suspects are brought before the courts to account for themselves. If found guilty, they are given appropriate punishment. In dysfunctional jurisdictions such procedures are often ignored in the interests of protecting the powerful.
"I am proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like a regular citizen. It is the duty of the police to investigate, and the duty of the prosecution to instruct the police. The prime minister is not above the law."
These are the words of Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, on announcing his resignation over allegations of corruption.
Our former Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern would not agree. Ahern’s opinion of those who are investigating him, the Mahon Tribunal, is stark – They’re low life.
There are other comparisons that can be made between Olmert and Ahern, comparisons that confirm Ireland as a dysfunctional jurisdiction when it comes to effectively dealing with corruption.
The Israeli police are investigating allegations that Olmert took bribes from a businessman friend. Olmert says the money was for election expenses. The businessman said some of the money was a ‘loan’ that was never repaid.
The Irish police are not investigating Ahern for similar alleged offences. He is being investigated by a tribunal that has little power. No matter what conclusions the Mahon Tribunal reach Ahern will never be investigated by the police.
The Israeli police are investigating allegations that Olmert was involved in fraudulent expenses claims.
The Irish police are not and never have investigated any Irish politician for similar offences despite the fact that abuse of expenses is widespread.
Israeli police are investigating allegations that Olmert appointed political associates to government bodies.
The Irish police are not and never have investigated such activities in Ireland despite, or because of, the fact that such behaviour is an intrinsic part of Irish political culture. When Ahern casually admitted on live television that he appointed people to government bodies because they were his friends nobody batted an eyelid, nobody took any action whatsoever.
Israeli police are investigating allegations that Olmert used his influence to favour a friend in a business transaction.
The Irish police do not investigate such activities despite the fact that such behaviour is common in Ireland.
The Israeli police are carrying out a criminal investigation into allegations that Olmert paid $325,000 below market value for a Jerusalem property.
The Irish police are not investigating property/planning corruption. In Ireland, such matters are investigated by never ending tribunals that have no power of prosecution. The Irish police can, after years of investigation by a tribunal, initiate an investigation into such activities but are strictly forbidden from using any of the evidence collected by the tribunal. They must start off their investigation from a blank slate. This has never happened.
Mr. Olmert is justified in saying that he is proud to be a citizen of a state where the Prime Minister can be investigated like a regular citizen. By the same token I am ashamed to be a citizen of a state where such an event is an impossibility.