23 June 2014
Italy sees a unprecedented wave of corruption ranging from bribery and contract rigging to mafia infiltration of the judiciary. The crime wave was so intolerable that Pope Francis made a day trip to the heartland of the biggest crime syndicate to console the father of a three year old baby who was slain in a drug war. The father was in prison and the Pope met him in the courtyard of the prison. Both parents of the slain boy were serving sentence for drug trafficking. In the shootout one of the grand fathers of the boy was also shot along with his girlfriend. The attackers also torched a car with three victims inside.
Pope was dismayed by the cruelty of the attack and decided to visit the town. During his visit he also met two of the grand mothers of the boy and they were weeping like fountains.
Pope also declared that all mobsters are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The economic crisis sank Italy into its worst post war recession. In the light of this recession these scandals that are erupting now seem to be intolerable for the common man.
Corruption seems to be a stumbling block for the foreign investors. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi came to power on a pledge to end corruption. The International Monetary Fund has urged him to make good his promise.
Renzi granted wide-ranging powers to his anti-corruption czar, magistrate Raffaele Cantone. Cantone, well known for his investigations against the powerful organised crime group Camorra, has said that a “real political and cultural change” is necessary to bring an ens to the corruption in Italy. He described corruption as similar to the mafia.
The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group (GRECO) admitted that Italy was taking steps to fight corruption but expressed dismay at the slow pace with which the ant-corruption measures were implemented.
Seven businessman and politicians were arrested for rigging contracts for the 2015 world fair Expo in Milan. Two of those under investigation were jailed in the early 1990s for corruption.
Even Pope Francis referring to the scandals denounced “the corrupt politician, the corrupt businessman, the corrupt priest”, saying it was “the poor who pay for the parties of the corrupt. The bill goes to them.”
President Giorgio Napolitano waded into the fray Thursday, urging the financial police to do more to eradicate corruption. In less than two weeks after the President’s statement the second in command of the financial police came under investigation for tax rigging.