OPINION

Penalties for corrupt officials

The financial crimes squad (SDOE) inspectors who were arrested for accepting bribes earlier this week must be severely punished. Tax evasion and corruption in public life remain unchecked thanks to the impunity of corrupt tax officers who have enjoyed the protection of the relevant disciplinary bodies and union groups, even when the evidence against them has been unequivocal. Recent news reports indicate that the individuals implicated in the bribery case are in fact tax officials who have in the past served as members of party-aligned union organizations. Few should be surprised by this revelation. That does not mean, however, that the government and the judicial system must not take every possible step to cut the Gordian knot connecting parties to corrupt elements inside tax offices and the broader state sector. After all, it is this immunity and impunity of politicians that has pushed the country to the verge of bankruptcy.