The war on corruption is being fought on many fronts. One where victory is especially critical is the battle to prevent leaders of poor countries from robbing their citizens blind, and nowhere will a victory be more welcome or more hard-fought than in Africa. Seventy percent of the world’s poor live on the continent while, thanks first to colonialism and then to Cold War machinations, Africans are saddled with governments ill-equipped to keep greedy leaders in check. Courts, legislatures, and other accountability institutions are weak; the media and civil society hobbled by repressive, non-democratic measures.
Not that in recent years there have not been promising developments. South Africa’s once powerful leader Jacob Zuma was forced to resign the presidency over corruption allegations for which he is now on trial. Former Guinea Minister of Mines Mahmoud Thiam forfeited $8.5 million and was sentenced to seven years in prison for corruptly granting virtually the whole of his nation’s mineral sector to a Chinese conglomerate. The son of former Mozambique President Armando Guebuza is one of over a dozen members of the country’s ruling circle facing trial for his role in the “hidden debt” scandal.
What will be required to continue this progress is the theme of John Hatchard’s latest book, Combating Money Laundering in Africa: Dealing with the Problem of PEPs. Like his earlier ones on African anticorruption laws and institutions (here, here, and here), it’s a must have for African corruption fighters.Continue reading