There has never been a shortage of crooks but it was only since writing was invented that their corrupt practices were recorded.
The Bible also mentions a number of cases . Often prominent members of society and even royalty like king David. The moral and just citizens managed to contain this easy way of getting rich by means of capital punishment , threats of eternal suffering in hell's furnaces and various other very painful deterrents.
In Africa , the cradle of mankind , corruption only became a problem with the arrival of independence. It started in Ghana in 1957 and soon spread like a bushfire. The main cause of the outbreak was the billions of dollars spread around by World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and various fisrt world donars to lessen their guilt feelings on account of slavery and exploitation of the black peoples of the continent.
The leaders of the new democrasies simply could not resist the temptation . They built palaces and mansions and diverted much of the lucre to overseas bank accounts. Many "white elephants" were also constructed.
The idea was that the African nations would pay back the loans once they became properous but that never happened ( too much work was required) and the debts had to be written off. Like all epidemics corruption spread and reached South Africa soon after 1994.
South Africa apparantly had an aptitude for it and corruption now blossomed into a major industry. Only this time it is not World Bank , IMF or donar money. It is our own hard-earned tax money.
If something drastic is not done to stop this large scale plundering , we will soon be another failed African state. We already show most of the symptoms.