Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Worst Corruption Cases in Africa

Eight major corruption and scandal cases that were deeply embedded inside African politics when leaders used public money for personal gain. 

The Gupta Scandal in South Africa in 2017 and the Oil-for-Food Scandal in Sudan in 2018 are two of the best examples of how corruption is deeply embedded in African politics.

In African politics, corruption can be a big problem because it can prevent people from getting the things they need

Corruption is when people in power use their position to do things that are wrong or illegal. Over simplified, in African politics, corruption is a big problem because it prevents people from getting the things they need, like good schools, hospitals, and roads.

Sadly corruption in African politics is when leaders use public money for their own personal gain. For example, they take money that was supposed to be used for building schools or hospitals and use it to buy things for themselves, like influence, fancy cars or houses.

Eight major known corruption cases in Africa.

The Arms Deal Scandal in South Africa in the late 1990s, the South African government under President Jacob Zuma signed an arms deal worth billions of dollars with several international arms companies. The deal was later found to have been tainted by corruption, with allegations that some politicians and officials received bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their support for the deal. The investigation into the scandal is ongoing and has implicated several high-ranking officials and politicians.

The Malabu Oil Scandal in Nigeria in 1998, the Nigerian government awarded an oil block to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company owned by former oil minister Dan Etete. The block was later sold to several international companies, but it was discovered that the deal was tainted by corruption, with allegations that some officials and politicians received bribes and kickbacks. The scandal has led to several investigations and legal battles, both in Nigeria and internationally.

The Goldenberg Scandal in Kenya in the 1990s, the Kenyan government established a program to promote the export of gold and diamonds, with a company called Goldenberg International being one of the main beneficiaries. However, it was later discovered that the company was involved in a massive fraud scheme, with allegations that it received billions of dollars from the government in false claims for exports. The scandal led to the collapse of several banks and businesses, and has been described as one of the worst corruption cases in Kenya's history.

The Gupta Scandal in South Africa in 2017, it was revealed that members of the Gupta family, a wealthy Indian family with close ties to former South African President Jacob Zuma, had allegedly used their political connections to gain influence over government appointments and contracts. The scandal led to widespread protests and calls for Zuma's resignation.

The Cashgate Scandal in Malawi in 2013, it was discovered that government officials in Malawi had been involved in a scheme to siphon off millions of dollars in public funds through fake contracts and inflated prices. The scandal led to the arrest of several officials and a donor aid freeze, which had a significant impact on the country's economy.

The Oil-for-Food Scandal in Sudan in 2018, it was reported that the Sudanese government used proceeds from oil sales to finance military operations in conflict zones, including Darfur, despite a UN embargo. The scandal led to calls for increased international sanctions and accountability for the government's actions.

The Dasukigate Scandal in Nigeria in 2015, it was discovered that the Nigerian government under former President Goodluck Jonathan had allegedly awarded $2.1 billion in contracts for weapons and military equipment to companies with close ties to the government, without following due process. The scandal led to the arrest and trial of several high-ranking officials and the recovery of billions of dollars in stolen funds.

The Panama Papers in Africa in 2016, a massive leak of documents from a law firm in Panama revealed the offshore financial activities of several African politicians and officials, including Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, and the son of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The revelations sparked widespread outrage and calls for greater transparency and accountability in African politics.

Why Corrupt Politics Hurts Africans 

One of the challenges facing African politics is that leaders stay in power for a very long time. This can be a problem because it means that new ideas and perspectives are not heard. In some cases, leaders have also been accused of using their power to benefit themselves instead of the people they are supposed to serve. 

Corruption makes it harder for people to get justice if they have been wronged. For example, if someone is accused of a crime but they have a lot of money and connections, they might be able to avoid punishment. This is not fair to the person who was wronged, and makes people feel like the system is not working for them.

Another example of corruption is when leaders give jobs or contracts to their friends or family members, instead of to the people who are most qualified for the job. This can mean that the work is not done well, or that the person who gets the job is not able to do it properly.

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