Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, (from Greek: κλέπτης - kleptēs, "thief" and κράτος - kratos, "power, rule", hence "rule by thieves") is a term applied to a government seen as having a particularly severe and systemic problem with officials or a ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats) taking advantage of corruption to extend their personal wealth and political power.
Typically this system involves the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service.
Kleptocracies are generally associated with dictatorships, oligarchies, military juntas, or other forms of autocratic and nepotist governments in which external oversight is impossible or does not exist.
This lack of oversight can be caused or exacerbated by the ability of the kleptocratic officials to control both the supply of public funds and the means of disbursal for those funds.
Kleptocratic rulers often treat their country's treasury as a source of personal wealth, spending funds on luxury goods and extravagances as they see fit.
Many kleptocratic rulers secretly transfer public funds into hidden personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries to provide for themselves if removed from power.
Kleptocracy is most common in developing countries whose economies are based on the export of natural resources. Such export incomes constitute a form of economic rent and are easier to siphon off without causing the income to decrease.
The effects of a kleptocratic regime or government on a nation are typically adverse in regards to the welfare of the state's economy, political affairs and civil rights.
Kleptocratic governance typically ruins prospects of foreign investment and drastically weakens the domestic market and cross-border trade.
As kleptocracies often embezzle money from their citizens by misusing funds derived from tax payments, or engage heavily in money laundering schemes, they tend to heavily degrade quality of life for citizens.
In addition, the money that kleptocrats steal is diverted from funds earmarked for public amenities such as the building of hospitals, schools, roads, parks – having further adverse effects on the quality of life of citizens.
The informal oligarchy that results from a kleptocratic elite subverts democracy (or any other political format).
In early 2004, the German anti-corruption NGO Transparency International released a list of what it believes to be the ten most self-enriching leaders in the past two decades.
In order of amount allegedly stolen USD, they were:
Indonesian President Suharto ($15 billion – $35 billion)
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos (at least $10 billion by 1986)
Congolese President Mobutu Sese Seko ($5 billion)
Nigerian Head of State Sani Abacha ($2 billion – $5 billion)
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević ($1 billion)
Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier ($300 million – $800 million)
Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori ($600 million)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko ($114 million – $200 million)
Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán ($100 million)
Philippine President Joseph Estrada ($78 million – $80 million)
Sources allege that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stole up to $70 billion.
In addition, other sources have listed :
11. PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat as having stolen $1 billion to $10 billion.
12. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari siphoning over $2 billion to his Swiss accounts.
13. Nursultan Nazarbayev head of Kazakhstan ruling clan with $7 billion assets. - http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.my/