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Date: 2024-03-03 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00003495


NYU Africa House discussion ... Rooting out Corruption in Nigeria with Mr. Ekpo Unaowo Nta in 2012

Peter Burgess COMMENTARY
I have worked to address the problem of corruption most of my adult life ever since I got over my youthful naivety. It is very difficult to address because corruption is often a short cut to wealth, and almost everyone on the planet is eager to acquire wealth ... especially easy wealth.

There are many organizations and individuals who are working to address the corruption problem ... but over the past fifty plus years, the problem has become worse rather than better.

Nigeria had its fair share of corrupt and powerful people ... while also having some courageous people who worked against corruption.
Peter Burgess
NYU Africa House discussion ... Rooting out Corruption in Nigeria

NYU Africa House discussion, October 25th 2012 with Mr. Ekpo Unaowo Nta, Chairman, Nigerian Independent Corrupt Practices Commission ... Q&A ... Rooting out Corruption in Nigeria

The following is a question I posed to the speaker:
My name is Peter Burgess. I have done work in Africa on and off since the 1970s. Please could you comment on the following ... from one of my rants about corruption in Africa.

'It will be impossible to end corruption as long as corruption is profitable. For people who have control over local economic activity, there is profit in taking bribes directly and indirectly. For big corporations, including international companies, there is profit in paying bribes to have protection from the authorities. Ordinary people are excluded from this and suffer the consequences.

'Accountants are ignoring the problem, and accountants are ignored. As a professionally trained accountant from the 1960s, I would have expected the accountancy profession to be 'shouting from the hilltop' about these matters and making information available that would enable the legal system to take action. This is not happening. Sadly 'rule of law' has the perverse effect of making it more difficult to bring corrupt people and organizations to justice and often makes unacceptable behavior 'lawful'. Too often violence against good people is tolerated. In my own case, I have been told three times that if I do not 'shut up' I will go home in a box!'

Thank you.
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