Tipping and bribing public servants

Dear Editor,

Re: Line blurred between tips and bribery

It amazes me that this issue is being seriously discussed.

How can any fair-minded individual even consider that tipping a public servant for doing their job can be anything other than a bribe. 

Calling it a tip only helps justify their criminal behaviour till Sunday comes and they are absolved of sin by those other upstanding members of Samoan society, the faifeau.

If you tip in a restaurant up it is because you got great service and/or thought the meal was exceptional. It is well known that such service staff live off their tips and those that do well really go out of their way to give you the best dining experience possible.

Now let's take Customs for example, a service highly proceduralised in law and a very important income earner for the Samoan economy. 

Exceptional service can only be measured by the delivery of accurate and relevant information and the execution of their role quickly and efficiently. Anything else that causes someone to appreciate them has to be illegal or a breach of procedures.

Turning a blind eye to the true contents of a shipment, no matter how big or small, is stealing from the public purse to give their customer an unfair financial advantage and a sense of appreciation that leads to a tip, or in a best case scenario is incompetence. 

Either way, why are they in this highly prized job if they are not capable of doing it properly or are blatant thieves that should be in jail?

The Green Lane is just the method that the big guys steal through providing favour and receiving "tips".

Remember that there are two sides to this equation, so it is obvious that this dishonest culture is ingrained in all levels of society, not only Customs officers and managers along with the government ministers taking advantage of these favours they can give to cashed up businesses, but also every person that has knowingly left the freight company having benefited from such favours.

I might be sounding a bit holier than thou, but I confess that I too am guilty of this having used the "personal effects" blanket declaration and the low ball estimate for the value of the shipment to save on duty and V.A.G.S.T. 

However I can honestly say that all business shipments have been 100% honest and accurate and in fact have been found to have often paid more duty and V.A.G.S.T. due to incompetence or inaccurate paperwork.

On that note I'd like to apologise to all Samoans for stealing from the public purse by declaring some goods in the occasional box of personal effects shipped into Samoa, knowing that there were additional duties and V.A.G.S.T. to be paid.

I would also like to thank the corrupt and incompetent Customs officers that allowed this to happen and ask if the 20 or 50 tala you received as a tip was really worth your reputation as an honest and upstanding member of Samoan society?

Let those without sin cast the first stone.


Palagi Lepoto 


Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?