Published in the peer-reviewed journal Governance, this paper interprets informal networks as investments made by citizens and business people to cope with the public sphere. Informal networks often orchestrate corruption, connecting public and private actors. The paper aims to understand their key characteristics, scopes, and functional roles.

This case study explains how the Ugandan Inspectorate of Governance achieved a landmark prosecution of a former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Price Minister under the country’s illicit enrichment law.

On 28 October 2020, Uganda registered a landmark judgment under its illicit enrichment law in the case of Uganda v Geoffrey Kazinda. Although there have been a couple of other previously prosecuted illicit enrichment cases, the Kazinda case is the most significant because of the vast sum of money involved: a total of UGX 4,630,195,258 (over USD 1,252,600).

Corruption is frequently associated with money alone and the behaviours of a few individual “bad apples” operating in otherwise healthy governance systems. This is too simplistic. As the latest research shows, including research in Tanzania and Uganda on which this Policy Brief is based, corruption is a networked phenomenon. This Policy Brief explains what this means and its implications for anti-corruption practice.

Bila watu hufiki popote. “Without people or connections you won’t reach anywhere,” said a Tanzanian businessman participating in our recently completed research project on informal networks and corruption.

His words encapsulate something we see time and again in our research on corruption: that bribery is far more than just a brute monetary transaction.

Often more important, and far less studied, are the informal social networks that connect private individuals and public officials.