Corruption has been a pervasive issue in governance and leadership throughout history. It undermines trust, perpetuates inequality, and hinders social and economic development. In this article, we will explore some of the most notorious and corrupt leaders in the world. It’s important to note that corruption is a complex issue, and these individuals represent only a fraction of those involved in corrupt activities.


Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire/Democratic Republic of the Congo):

Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) from 1965 to 1997, is often cited as one of the most corrupt leaders in history. During his long and oppressive reign, he amassed a personal fortune estimated at several billion dollars while his country suffered from extreme poverty and political instability.

Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines):

Ferdinand Marcos, who served as the President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, and his wife, Imelda, are infamous for their extravagant lifestyle and corrupt practices. The Marcos regime is believed to have plundered billions of dollars from the national treasury, leaving the Philippines in economic turmoil.

Sani Abacha (Nigeria):

Sani Abacha, who ruled Nigeria from 1993 to 1998, is often remembered for his reign of terror and corruption. He and his family were estimated to have embezzled over $4 billion from the Nigerian state. His regime was marked by human rights abuses and widespread looting of public funds.

Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe):

Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, began his rule as a symbol of hope but gradually became known for corruption, economic mismanagement, and human rights abuses. His land reform policies led to the dispossession of white farmers and contributed to the country’s economic collapse.

Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan):

Nursultan Nazarbayev, who served as the President of Kazakhstan for nearly three decades (from 1991 to 2019), is often associated with widespread corruption and authoritarianism. His regime was marked by political repression and allegations of embezzlement.

Jacob Zuma (South Africa):

Jacob Zuma, who served as the President of South Africa from 2009 to 2018, faced numerous corruption scandals during his tenure. Most notably, the “State Capture” scandal involving the Gupta family and allegations of widespread corruption within the government tarnished his reputation.


Corruption is a global issue that affects societies and nations across the world. These leaders, though notorious for their corrupt practices, are just a few examples of those who have engaged in corrupt behavior while holding positions of power. Addressing corruption requires not only holding leaders accountable but also fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and good governance to prevent it in the first place.