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Centre of African Studies: Research


Fighting high-level corruption in Africa: Learning from effective law enforcement

The project 'Fighting high-level corruption in Africa: Learning from effective law enforcement’ is part of the Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (2019-21). It is led by Gerhard Anders, University of Edinburgh (Principal Investigator) and Fortunata Makene, Economic and Social Research Foundation in Dar es Salaam (Co-Investigator).
The project compares the law enforcement response to high-profile corruption scandals in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Malawi, where high-level corruption is rife but has been targeted by the authorities.

Law enforcement in Africa, ranging from investigations and punishment of corrupt officials to asset recovery, plays a principal role in combating corruption but it often is seen as inherently problematic due to the scale of the corruption problem, lack of resources, and external influences. However, a growing number of high-profile cases across the continent offer important insights into the conditions and factors shaping law enforcement.

This project is the first comparative study of law enforcement efforts targeting high-level corruption in Africa that aims at identifying the enabling and constraining factors and conditions for effective enforcement practice. This focus promises to generate new evidence that has been missing in anti-corruption research, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of what is needed to successfully target those involved in grand corruption. The project analyses the various investigative and legal tools available in criminal proceedings, as well as innovative legal strategies in Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi. What constitutes ‘effective╩╝ law enforcement will take into account what is deemed so by different actors (political leaders and law enforcement officials at different levels and different agencies).

The research findings will be fed directly into policymaking and law enforcement in the three countries. Additionally. the project╩╝s findings will be relevant beyond the three countries studied as they offer insights for the global anti-corruption debate more broadly.

Link to project website:

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