The Lonely Box

Corruption Box

The Lonely Box

 

I walked past this box several times during my week in Nairobi. Secured by a single padlock, it had a simple message: Report Corruption Cases Here. It stood at the entrance to a courtyard in the National Museum, just outside what looked like a security post, or a janitor’s station.

It looked pretty lonely.

The first step in an anti–corruption strategy is always information. Yet, the information has to be delivered within the context of a working system, otherwise such an whistle-blowing box might serve mainly as a stress relief mechanism to give users the satisfaction that at least some action has been taken. Every system that adopts the information box approach has to answer the following questions

  • Who opens the box, and what is their relationship to the corruption complaint?
  • What do they do with the information acquired?
  • Will the box in fact ever be opened?
  • Are there informants or CCTVs watching the box to identify ‘anonymous’ informants for retribution?
  • Is there an in-line automated shredder in the lower box?

To make sure an information box actually acquires information, these questions must be answered to the citizens’ satisfaction.

1 thought on “The Lonely Box”

  1. If the box is so exposed, who protects the anonymity of the whistle blower. Wonder how ready we are to fight corruption in Africa.

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