LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

 
FREE EXCERPT

GRAFT AND CORRUPTION

Your April edition reported the research work of CERI on the evil of corruption in Kenya. You concluded the lucid exposition by making suggestions as to how corruption could be eradicated in the country. I share the logic of the argument but I disagree with your recommendations. Corruption is a North-South export. The war against it must be fought on both sides of the divide.

As a Nigerian, I would never support corruption because I've seen the damage it can do to a nation. But travelling around the world has made me more sympathetic with a poorly paid policeman in Moi Avenue or the hungry immigration man at the passport control in Abidjan who takes a perry bribe of $1 from an erring traveller.

On arrival at Heathrow two weeks ago, I took a taxi. The old London cabby told me in his strong northern accent that I was a Nigerian. He had lived almost half his life in various towns around Nigeria and could therefore pick out a Nigerian in a football crowd after hearing only one sentence in English. I also told him jokingly that I'd lived long enough in England to recognise the fact that he was from Liverpool. And we continued the banter until I reached my destination. Then the following conversation took place:

Me: How much is my fare?

He: [pounds]25, but I can do it for you the Nigerian way.

Me: How?

He: (With a sly wink) Don't tell me you don't know the game. Since you work for a company 1 can give you a receipt for [pounds]80 while you give me [pounds]40.

Me: Take [pounds]30. Keep the change. I don't need a receipt either. I hope the change can help you solve some of your life's problems.

The West is largely to blame for the rapacity of our politicians. If the students they trained are now a pain in their neck, if they are actually serious about stamping out corruption in the third world, they must first purge themselves of the evil. They must take a cue from England where a football team manager who took a gift of [pounds]400,000 after allowing the transfer of one of his best players was swiftly dismissed; where tax-men who colluded with industrialists to defraud the Inland Revenue were caught, quickly tried and jailed; where the London metropolitan police has been routinely exposed for graft and...

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