2018 AAAS Annual Meeting February 15 - 19, 2018Austin, TX

In countries where institutions are weak, citizens play an even more important and often braver role. Those who speak out can be targets, but not everyone has to be on the front line. Take the example of the school in Bangladesh: it was parents and local organisers who asked the school to note who showed up to teach and to commit to not asking for admissions bribes. These small steps led to measurable improvements – the kids passed their exams.

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In the Czech Republic, a whistle-blower on environmental corruption helped to save the country more than €2 billion (Transparency International 2015c). In Nepal, money that was meant for women giving birth in remote regions but stolen by healthcare officials was returned and redistributed where it was needed most (Transparency International 2015d). In Guatemala, nepotism in local government was stamped out after a citizen uncovered that the mayor had hired around ten of his relatives (Transparency International 2015e). In March 2015, Transparencia Venezuela launched a smartphone app Dilo Aquí, which allows ordinary citizens to report instances of bribery and any irregularities during elections (Transparencia Venezuela 2015a). In the parliamentary elections in December 2015, more than 400 complaints of electoral abuse were registered via the app that were then channelled to the National Electoral Council and the Comptroller General for follow-up (Transparencia Venezuela 2015b).


Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

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This paper has argued an approach for how states can achieve transformational change in the fight against corruption, using procurement in Afghanistan as an example.


Carnegie Institution for Science

Second, when the British left, our pioneer leaders were determined to keep the system clean. The People’s Action Party (PAP) first came to power in 1959, when Singapore attained self-government. However, it was by no means a no- brainer for the PAP to fight to win the 1959 General Election.

Carnegie Institution for Science

First, we inherited a clean and working system from the British colonial government. We had many compelling reasons to want to end colonial rule and to be masters of our own destiny. But to their credit, the British left Singapore with a working system and sound institutions – English laws, a working Civil Service, and an efficient and honest judiciary. Importantly, the Colonial Service officers upheld high standards. People like Sir William Goode, our last Governor and first Head of State, had a sense of duty and stewardship. After Singapore, Goode served as Governor of North Borneo, now the state of Sabah in Malaysia. He left an impression in North Borneo, as in Singapore. Even a generation later, the people of Sabah still remembered him fondly.

King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

Fourth, we have over time developed a society and culture that eschews corruption. Singaporeans expect and demand a clean system. They do not condone giving or accepting ‘social lubricants’ to get things done. They readily report corrupt practices when they encounter them. Singaporeans trust that the law applies to all and that the Government will enforce the laws without fear or favour, even when it may be awkward or embarrassing. Businesses have confidence that, in Singapore, rules are transparent and fairly applied. The story is told of a businessman who visited Singapore from an Asian country used to different operating norms. He left puzzled and disturbed that he could not discover the going rate for bribes to officers at different levels of government. He concluded wrongly that the prices must be very high!

European Commission Joint Research Centre

Corruption is a scourge that can never be tolerated. Countries have tried all ways to combat it. They create anti-corruption agencies. They pass strong laws. They promulgate codes of conduct for public officials. Companies pledge to conduct business cleanly. Yet often corruption remains endemic, a cancer in the society. How then has Singapore achieved some measure of success in eradicating corruption? I put it down to four factors.