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Anti-corruption in Africa: the cases of Nigeria and Ghana

Azubuike Amaraegbu, Declan (2008) Anti-corruption in Africa: the cases of Nigeria and Ghana. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of Anti-Corruption projects(^1) in Africa. This may appear simple but the severity of pervasive corruption in the continent, especially when the adoption of various intervention measures which should have reduced the opportunities for its occurrence are taken into account, makes this endeavour challenging. In the present context, the thesis will present a rational background or structure that is capable of contributing to the explanation of the African condition (^2). To achieve this, the thesis aims to make an in-depth study of the institutional frameworks that were put in place to tackle corruption. Nigeria and Ghana are the study areas on account of their similar antecedence and the strategic roles they play in the politics of Africa. Apart from journals and reports etc, no proper analysis of the anticorruption project in Nigeria and Ghana has been documented in book form. This thesis intends to fill this gap in the literature by providing a concise and an impartial text through analysis of both Countries' anticorruption projects between 1999 and 2007. It contributes to the debate by focusing on two major issues: (1) The character of Africa's ruling elites, their attitude towards public-good and their competition for political power, arguing that the burden of reinventing Africa rests more (but not only) on their shoulders and (2) the anti-corruption policies of Nigeria and Ghana's post-colonial administrations in pursuance of a relatively corrupt-free public sector.(^3) Sustained anti-corruption campaigns in both countries, as elsewhere in the developing World, developed in response to the demands of a renewed good governance strategy. Sustained effort in the present context implies when anti- corruption debates became extensive and bodies (with legal backing) were set up to investigate and possibly prosecute offenders. Viewed in this sense, anti-corruption campaigns in both countries, and most of Africa, in the democratic era should be separated from the closed, regimented political system represented by past despotic and military regimes. Nevertheless, most of the analysis in this work is deeply critical of both administrations' anticorruption projects. This may appear unfair, given that both administrations have arguably paid more attention to the problems than previous ones. But, even a rare, high -sounding advertisement of an anticorruption project in a society where corruption remains the best explanation for their underdevelopment cannot obscure the various incidences of rampant high-profile corruption and lead to profound questioning of the seriousness of the counter measures. Nor do the many anticorruption laws and institutions, which are explored in details in this work, make up for evidently improper implementation of these policies, which are driven more by politics than by objectivity. Many have laboured under the illusion that Africa's ruling class were committed to their much avowed anticorruption projects. Yet when we examine the implementation of the various anticorruption projects, we become persuaded to the contrary, not only by the conduct of high public office holders or by careful analysis of intellectual materials, reports and surveys, but by some credible accounts provided first hand from sources right at the centre of governments and the projects in both countries. The administrations of Presidents Obasanjo and Kuffor of Nigeria and Ghana respectively are no more than representative samples of the African condition, because the truth is that most African nations have never had durable anticorruption policies, starting from the high-point of the independence era. This thesis argues that anti-corruption strategies in Africa lack sincerity of intent and strength of purpose. As will be seen in the country case studies, in a polity of contesting interests, government interference with the judicial process regarding the prosecutorial powers of anticorruption commissions is widespread, especially in high-profile cases, and exposes the government as not being sincere in its intentions. Public office holders take advantage of their positions for supposedly bring them to justice are weak, compromised and profligate. Durable initiatives to address the crisis of justice that society desires and deserves have been absent, and the challenges of public accountability, transparency in transacting government business and inappropriate use of public resources refuse to go away. As will be shown later, some anticorruption institutions are marred by a credibility crisis. Supposedly, they should be committed to proper adherence to due process and other forms of disciplinary checks, but their image problems are worsened by the perceived partiality with which they go about their activities. Obviously, those responsible for the implementation of the projects have a large credibility gap to fill in the hearts and minds of ordinary Africans who are disillusioned with inadequate counter measures that have either ended up in smoke or become interred with the bones of their initiators. Thus, mere mouthing of platitudes in the face of genuine challenges have offered hope whilst denying real progress towards the eradication of state- sanctioned corruption, a deep-rooted problem that is threatening to become permanent. Flashes of hope from both administrations have not yet addressed the basic problems of trustworthiness in an environment where high-profile corruption cases are improperly and inadequately pursued; and where public officials' activities make more people lose faith in the campaign. It is important to take concrete steps and design counter measures that are capable of creating the proper values for public office because, "values are central to the fight against corruption."(^4) As Dike reminds us "...a good value system could help in the war against corruption." (^5) The political space that will enable civil society in partnership with government agencies to enforce anticorruption policies is yet to be fully developed. In the meantime, mouthing the rhetoric about fighting corruption provides diagnosis of the disease but no progress towards a cure. This thesis provides analysis and recommendations towards this goal.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:33

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