Republic of Botswana
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Low corruption level in Botswana
Low Corruption Level

Compared with most African countries, corruption is not a major problem, with high levels of honesty prevalent in most transactions, in both the public and private sectors. The government is committed to "zero tolerance" of corruption based on the resolve that in Botswana corrupt practices must remain a "high-risk, low-return undertaking", as reiterated by President Mogae in his State of the Nation address of November 2003.

In 2002, Botswana was ranked 24th out of 102 countries rated by Transparency International (TI) and the highest of all the African countries surveyed - higher even than some European countries - receiving a 6.4 grading (where 0 is most corrupt and 10 is cleanest/most transparent). In 2003, Botswana's score was slightly lower at 5.7, but this was still the best grading received by an African country, with Botswana ranked 30th out of the 133 countries surveyed that year, ahead of Tunisia (39th) and Namibia (41st).

Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime

The government is determined to prevent corruption taking hold and in 1994 the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) was set up. The DCEC has powers to investigate (but not prosecute) corruption cases, and to implement preventative strategies and carry out public education on the issue. Its director reports to the president, with decisions on prosecutions taken by the attorney general - a position constitutionally independent of the government.

There have been some high profile corruption cases in recent years, most but not all   of which have resulted in convictions. Some funding provided under the now- abolished financial assistance policy was found to have been misused by certain investors. But the increase in general prosperity and relatively well-paid civil service have combined to limit the extent of corruption. A Botswana TI chapter was established in 2002 and the independent local media gives prominent coverage to instances of alleged corruption.

The importance of Legislation

Legislation is also in place to prevent money laundering and associated white-collar crimes, and to ensure the integrity of operations carried out through the Botswana International Financial services Centre (BIFSC). A recent amendment to the Serious Crimes Act has strengthened existing provisions on the prevention of concealment and disposition of the proceeds of crime. It is now mandatory for banks and all other commercial firms to report any suspicious business relationships and transactions involving the transfer of cash into and out of Botswana, subject to stringent penalties.

Good Governance and Transparency

Botswana has been shinning as Africa’s jewel as a result of its sound democracy. This mature democracy is enhanced by initiatives such as good governance and upholding the rule of law. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law. Moreover, the Laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient. The laws are upheld and access to justice is provided by competent, independent and ethical law enforcement officials, attorneys or representatives and judges, who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve. 

Botswana has been Africa’s least corrupt country and held a very good position internationally. This is according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. This result has been enabled by sound anti-corruption structures and judicial practices like the open court system. The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime’s prosecution rates is considered high by international standards.

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