Counting the cost of corruption


A prominent judge has queried the use of public funds to buy vehicles for Nigeria’s politicians, and advised a leading advocacy group to research the issues “to see how best we can reconcile our social and cultural values viz-a-viz the entire war against corruption and advise our policymakers accordingly.”

Hon. Justice Agwadza William Atedze spoke yesterday at the launch of Combating Grand Corruption and Impunity in Nigeria: An Agenda for Institutional Reforms in Anti-Corruption Strategies, a report published by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in an initiative to promote justice sector and anti-corruption oversight mechanism reform, in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

In Nigeria, as in so many places around the world, citizens are losing patience with official corruption. Increasingly, the impact of government theft, coercion, and abuse of the public trust is being exposed by courageous activists, journalists, and even government officials. Corruption and its terrible effects erode political and economic opportunity and destroy the faith of citizens in government institutions and protections.

The National Endowment for Democracy is using its 2017 Democracy Award to highlight the pioneering work of five brave activists who are battling against corruption in Afghanistan, Angola, Guatemala, Malaysia, and Ukraine. We are pleased to have the opportunity to hear from them about the impact of corruption in their countries and the challenges they face in their efforts to confront it.

Counting the Cost: The impact of corruption on 

democratic growth and stability 

Featuring remarks by 

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


at the National Endowment for Democracy  

1025 F St. NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20004



Claudia Escobar (Guatemala) is a judge who not only refused to participate in corruption, but became the lead whistle blower in a case of grand corruption involving the Vice-President of Guatemala and the former President of Congress.

Denys Bihus (Ukraine) leads TOM 14, a group of professional investigative journalists in Ukraine, and is the host of a very popular and award-winning anti-corruption television program, Nashi Hroshi (Our Money).  Bihus also coordinates the activities of thousands of volunteers, known as the “Kantselyarska Sotnya” (“The White Collar Hundred”), who are piecing together documents shredded by former Ukrainian President Yanukovych and his staff.

Rafael Marques de Morais (Angola) is a renowned journalist and human rights defender focused on investigating government corruption and abuses in Angola’s diamond industry. He has been imprisoned for his work and is constantly harassed by the Dos Santos regime.

Cynthia Gabriel (Malaysia) is a human rights advocate and anti-corruption leader. She is the founder of the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), the leading anti-corruption organization in a country currently in the throes of an enormous corruption scandal.

Khalil Parsa (Afghanistan) is a key human rights advocate and anti-corruption leader from Herat. He is the founder and executive director of Supporting Organization for Afghanistan Civil Society (SOACS). Parsa’s work made him the target of a 2016 assassination attempt. Shot six times, he considers himself lucky to be alive.

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