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.

One Reply to “The Lonely Box”

  1. Adaeze Nwankwo says:

    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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