Legal Approaches to Supporting Good Governance and Integrity in Africa
Chapter 1: Setting the scene: law and persuasion
In early 1993, I was talking to Jeremy Pope, the outgoing Director of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, about his future plans. In my experience, international public officials at this level of seniority normally do one of three things: move into a similar position in another international organization; return to their home country to pursue a political career; or retire on a very healthy pension. To my surprise (perhaps astonishment is a better description), Jeremy told me that he was moving to Berlin to set up an anti-corruption non-governmental organization. Given that corruption has been a fact of life for centuries with efforts to combat it seemingly having minimal success, I think my response was entirely understandable. Certainly at that time there were no international or regional anti-corruption instruments, very few countries had effective anti-corruption/bribery or anti-money laundering legislation in place whilst some heads of state and other senior public officials were almost routinely looting state assets and laundering the proceeds through Western financial institutions. Similarly, the bribery of foreign public officials by the private sector in order to obtain or retain business was commonplace with some countries even making such payments tax deductible. Since then, so much has changed. Jeremy Pope duly went off to Berlin and there co-founded Transparency International which has proved one of the catalysts for the development of a plethora of civil society organizations dedicated to combating corruption.