In the early 1990s, a string of high-level corruption scandals in Botswana outraged citizens and undercut the country’s reputation for good governance and fiscal prudence. In 1994, the government created the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), responsible for combating corruption through investigation, prevention, and education. The DCEC won global recognition for its innovative preventive and educational efforts, ranging from preventive units embedded within problem-prone government offices to outreach programs for youth and rural communities. The directorate’s investigative record was more varied, however. Even though investigations of petty graft led to convictions, high-profile cases foundered in court. The DCEC had limited responsibility for those legal setbacks, because its role in prosecution was merely advisory, but the rulings bolstered public concerns that Botswana’s economic and political elites were above the law. Judicial reforms and capacity-building efforts begun in 2012 raised hopes for future investigative gains.
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Gaborone, Botswana, in March 2013 and in London in August 2013. Case published October 2013.
Botswana Housing Corporation
corruption prevention committees
Building a Reform Team and Staff
Investigation or referral
Organization and staffing
Institutional traps (spoilers)
Country of Reform