You can read the transcript or listen to the pod cast of Development Drums’ Episode 20: Corruption which features an interesting conversation with Daniel Kaufman and Mushtaq Khan (see also) about corruption in development. This has been a frequent topic in discussions about Haiti recently.
Sadly, discussions of corruption in Haiti often focus—to the neglect of the seriousness and nuance of the topic—just on Haitian officials. This is a real deficiency in the conversation. Any serious conversation about corruption in Haiti needs to include a recognition of the role that forces outside the country have played (e.g., drug smuggling, gun running, past support for paramilitary groups, past support of opposition leaders of questionable democratic credentials, etc.) in corruption and governance problems in the country. The U.S. has come clean recently about the role the U.S. market for narcotics plays in the violence and corruption that is causing havoc in Mexico; discussions of corruption in Haiti need to include similar recognition before there is too much finger pointing.
Discussions of corruption also need to go beyond discussions of bribes and diversions of public funds. Kaufman has an interesting discussion about this here.
For me, though, the most important take home message from the podcast is that corruption should be viewed as a symptom as often as a cause of development problems. This is something I have mentioned to several people about Haiti but the point seems to fall on deaf ears, so it is nice to see it mentioned in the podcast. In the case of Haiti, it is the lack of governance capacity as much as and likely more so than corruption per se that is the barrier to development in Haiti.